Kinahan cartel boss Johnny Morrissey has rented a villa to holidaymakers for €6,000 a week

The cartel fundraiser and former doorman owns two mansions in Spain, one worth €5m and the other €3m

His current residence at Alhaurin de la Torre prison is a world away from the luxury villa with swimming pool and outdoor sauna near Marbella that he and his Scottish wife Nicola called home shortly before their arrest on Monday.

The seven-bedroom, £5million fortress sits behind high walls lined with metal fencing and cameras and is one of several properties searched by police after they took Morrissey and his partner prisoner at a nearby address where they had moved weeks earlier.

His garage, the size of a small family home, easily has enough space for the expensive motors the former owner of the Cork restaurant likes to drive, which over the years has included a VIP armored car.

Well-placed sources said yesterday the couple rented the villa to holidaymakers for up to €6,000 a week while they were ‘hiding’ elsewhere after US authorities publicly identified Morrissey as a key member of the cartel of Kinahan.

The last of their Airbnb tenants left two days before agents from the Spanish Civil Guard specializing in the fight against organized crime entered with a court order in search of evidence against them.

They also inspected a €3million pad overlooking the Mediterranean a 15-minute drive away near Fuengirola, which the 62-year-old Irish passport holder owns and which his ‘gangster’s moll’ had wanted to turn into a wellness center .

Neighbors said yesterday they saw Morrissey, who grew up in Greater Manchester and worked as a doorman in Rochdale, visiting the mansion regularly in recent weeks.

It’s still undergoing renovations, but stacks of cash have clearly gone into upgrading the property, which has had new windows installed and upgrades to the huge roof terrace with stunning views of the sea.

A huge poolside barbecue and kitchen area built into an extended gazebo is largely intact from when Morrissey and his wife hosted lavish parties when they still lived there before the Covid pandemic began .

A Spanish resident, who asked not to be named, said:

“He had different cars but I remember him driving a black Range Rover. He also boasted of having an armored vehicle.

“We called him El Calvo, which means Baldy in English. He didn’t talk openly about how he made his money and you didn’t ask him.

The US decision to name him Kinahan enforcer, drug facilitator and money launderer in April is believed to have been behind Morrissey’s decision to move out of the last large home he shared with Nicola and their son of 10 years and to transform it temporarily. in a vacation rental.

Despite Morrissey’s reputation, celebrities lined up to be photographed alongside him at Costa parties where he activated the charm as an ambassador for Nero Vodka.

He and his wife posed for selfies with former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan and her husband Mark Wright – with a bottle of vodka still in the camera.

Actor Will Mellor was persuaded to have his picture taken with drink in hand and gushed: “I absolutely love Nero. Simply the best vodka around, there’s nothing else like it. Pure, sweet and sipping.

Celebrity Juice host Keith Lemon, real name Leigh Francis, also agreed to pose with a bottle of Nero vodka for publicity photos of the drink, marketed under the logo “The Undefeatable Spirit”.

Spanish police branded it a ‘front company’ after they arrested Morrissey and his wife, insisting there was no way to fund the couple’s luxury lifestyle.

They claimed the former doorman’s alleged money laundering operation could wash away up to €350,000 of dirty money a day through an ancient money transfer system called Hawala, which bypasses traditional banking checks .

Spanish police are convinced that Morrissey, a regular at a shooting range near Malaga, knew his days of freedom were coming to an end after his ‘exit’ as an alleged key member of Kinahan.

An acquaintance said: ‘His birthday is in December and he usually throws a big party around that time, but this year he surprised everyone by throwing it in August.

“It felt like he knew he was about to be lifted and wanted to make sure he had one last knee in case he couldn’t later.”

Morrissey was one of seven people, including crime boss Christopher Kinahan Sr and his son Daniel, slapped with sanctions and named by the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control..

US authorities said of the underworld figure, so close to suspected cartel leader Daniel Kinahan that he was invited to his wedding in Dubai in the summer of 2017: “John Morrissey worked for the Kinahan Organized Crime Group (KOCG) for several years, including as an enforcer and facilitating international drug shipments for the organization from South America. John Morrissey is also involved in money laundering.

Nero Drinks was one of three companies included in the list and banned from trading in the United States.

The Spanish Civil Guard, which carried out the operation against Morrissey through its elite UCO unit with the support of Garda, Britain’s National Crime Agency and the powerful US law enforcement agency DEA , claims she believes he may have helped criminal gangs launder more than 200,000 million in the 18 months their investigation lasted.

They described it as “the most important international criminal organization that operated in Spain and was dedicated to money laundering” in their only official comments to date.

The informal Hawala method of money transfer is known to have been adopted by criminal gangs who use code numbers or tokens, such as banknotes torn in half, to prove that money is owed.

Morrissey allegedly used it to move huge sums of money from illegal activities, including drug trafficking, around the world.

He and an unnamed Briton were remanded in custody following a court appearance in Marbella on Wednesday.

The other suspect is a used car salesman who allegedly provided Morrissey with modified vehicles where cash could be hidden in secret compartments.

Morrissey’s 46-year-old wife was released on bail but is still under investigation. His fate is currently unknown.

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