Daniel Kinahan shells out $140k for Champions League matchball to aid snow leopards as images emerge

MOB boss Daniel Kinahan showed his cud­dly side — as he forked out $140,000 for a Champions League final match­ball in aid of snow leopards.

Kinahan pos­es along with Bob Arum out­side the event

The cocaine baron won an auc­tion for the Virgil van Dijk-signed ball used in the 2019 final, won by his beloved Liverpool.

Kinahan smiles as he wins $140,000 auction
Nurali Aliyev speaks at the Snow Leopard Foundation Gala 2019 at Astana Arena on July 04, 2019 in Astana, Kazakhstan Credit: Getty Images — Getty

Kinahan, 43, splashed out while attend­ing the gala din­ner in the Kazakhstan city of Astana along with box­ing pro­mot­er Bob Arum.

The images were tak­en in July 2019, but have only emerged on social media now.

In them, the MC for the evening, Swiss celebri­ty auc­tion­eer Simon de Pure — known as ‘the Mick Jagger of auc­tions’ — starts the bid­ding on the ball  at €20,000.

It quick­ly ris­es to €30,000 and then €35,000, before the numer­ous super-rich oli­garchs present are all out­bid by Kinahan.

Next, the tuxe­do-clad inner-city Dub is shown on a big screen bash­ful­ly grin­ning along­side MTK’s American pres­i­dent Bob Yalen.

MASSIVE BALLS’

De Pure, who does not know the drug baron, jokes “you’ve showed us you’ve got mas­sive balls” as he play­ful­ly brings down the ham­mer on Kinahan’s table and announces: “Sold! Thank you, sir.”

The price is believed to be the largest ever amount paid out for a Champions League final ball, but was not even  the biggest con­tri­bu­tion on the evening.

That was made by anoth­er guest, who shelled out €450,000 for a paint­ing of a snow leop­ard  done by Peaky Blinders actor Adrien Brody.

Brody and Bob Arum were among those who addressed the well-heeled crowd.

No expense was spared for the Snow Leopard Foundation Gala at the Astana Arena, where Ireland had faced off against Kazakhstan in 2012.

LUXURY

Pics post­ed on social media showed the five course menu, pro­vid­ed by the local Ritz Carlton hotel.

Guests feast­ed on starters such as teriya­ki egg­plant and miso-mar­i­nat­ed beef, fol­lowed by con­fit of chick­en leg in truf­fle oil, baked spinach and ricot­ta can­neloni and a Kazakh rice dish called plov.

The fourth course was the  enig­mat­i­cal­ly-titled  meat sur­prise, while desserts includ­ed tra­di­tion­al sweets like tchak tchak, khovorost and zhent.

Kinahan’s win­ning match­ball pur­chase is in keep­ing with those of oth­er car­tel mem­bers, who have splashed out big mon­ey on sports memorabilia.

When gar­dai raid­ed car­tel lieu­tenant Liam Byrne’s for­ti­fied pad in Crumlin, they dis­cov­ered signed Liverpool shirts from Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez among some of the items on show.

As well as feed­ing their mas­sive egos, the mem­o­ra­bil­ia is con­sid­ered a sol­id finan­cial invest­ment, as its val­ue tends to increase with the pass­ing of the years.

Byrne, him­self a diehard Liverpool fan, had also trav­elled to the 2018 Champions League final in Kiev, which his side lost 3–1 to Real Madrid.

SPECIAL FORCES 

The trip to Kazakhstan is one of the few times Kinahan has appeared pub­licly out­side his Dubai bolt­hole, where he is report­ed to be shield­ed by for­mer spe­cial forces bodyguards.

Arum has told the Irish Sun that the Snow Leopard Gala was one of two occa­sions he had met Kinahan in per­son, the oth­er being dur­ing a trip to Dubai.

Numerous images of Kinahan meet­ing with oth­er fig­ures con­nect­ing to box­ing in the emi­rate have appeared on social media.

Gardai are aware that the mob boss and his younger broth­er Christopher Jr had been trav­el­ling across Europe on false pass­ports fol­low­ing the out­break of the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

SNOW LEOPARD GALA

However, they are thought to have stopped this after Christopher was caught with fake doc­u­ments in Germany but let off with a warning.

The Snow Leopard Gala event had been organ­ised and addressed by Kazakh busi­ness­man Nurali Aliyev, who was him­self the sub­ject of an inves­ti­ga­tion by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA)  last year.

Aliyev, a grand­son of for­mer Kazakh dic­ta­tor Nursultan Nazarbayev, had been tak­en to the High Court in London in an attempt to force him and his moth­er to explain their own­er­ship of £80m worth of prop­er­ty in the city.

The NCA was seek­ing to impose an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) on the pair, claim­ing the three hous­es had been pur­chased by Aliyev’s father Rakhat.

Rakhat Aliyev, the head of Kazakhstan’s tax agency, had died in an Austrian prison in 2015 while await­ing charges relat­ing to the mur­der of two bankers.

However, the High Court dis­agreed with the NCA and Mrs Justice Lang over­turned all three unex­plained wealth order­ss, rul­ing “the NCA’s assump­tion” that Rakhat Aliyev was the source of the funds was unreliable.

She found there was “cogent evi­dence” the prop­er­ties had been fund­ed by Ms Nazarbayeva and her son.

POWERFUL JUDGMENT’ 

Nurali Aliyev said after­wards: “The court’s pow­er­ful judg­ment demon­strates the NCA obtained the orders on an inac­cu­rate basis as part of a flawed inves­ti­ga­tion which was entire­ly with­out merit.”

He accused the NCA of pur­su­ing “a ground­less, vicious legal action”.

Meanwhile, Kinahan con­tin­ues to insist he has “stepped back” from any involve­ment in box­ing, includ­ing in the €400m Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua heavy­weight fight he was once hailed by Fury for set­ting up.

Last month, a court in Amsterdam heard the Dubliner had appeared in a video found on a seized mobile phone along­side three oth­er major drug barons.

Mob boss Daniel Kinahan
A gen­er­al view at the Snow Leopard Foundation Gala 2019 at Astana ArenaCredit: Getty Images — Getty
Roberto Firmino of Liverpool cel­e­brates with the tro­phy after his side won dur­ing the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019Credit: Getty Images — Getty

Owen Conlon, The Irish Sun

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