POLICE in New Zealand have frozen the bank account of a Dublin man with links to the Kinahan cartel.
A court heard allegations that Fran Fennell had used a network of Irish backpackers to smuggle cocaine.
Socialite Fennell, who gardai suspect operated as a cocaine dealer to the stars in Dublin, was named in New Zealand’s High Court this month as the organiser of a global drugs ring.
The court heard that he arranged for Irish mules to “bodypack” 300 or 400 grammes of cocaine and fly into New Zealand and Australia.
A gram of cocaine costs $360, the equivalent of €205 in New Zealand – the highest price in the world, according to a 2018 global survey.
Fennell, who is originally from Ballymun, is also under investigation at home for money laundering and drug offences.
Asset Recovery Unit boss, Detective Senior Sergeant Stu McGowan, told the New Zealand Herald that police were tipped off about Fennell by Customs.
“He flew out here for less than a week, opened the bank account and then disappeared,” he said.
“Our belief was that Irish backpackers were bringing out cocaine for him, body-packing 300 or 400 grammes at a time. It would get dropped off to an associate Fennell had on the ground running things who would deposit cash into his bank account.”
Fennell was relieved of €50,000 of his alleged drug fortune by New Zealand authorities after the court ruled he used human couriers to supply coke and ecstasy to Kiwis and Australians.
A proceeds of crime case heard almost Aus$250,000 (€155,000) was shifted by Fennell using banks, Western Union and couriers over a six month period in 2014.
A massive $72,000 (circa €50,000) was in a bank account in his name when authorities froze the assets following a tip-off from gardai.