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Hitman Imre Arakas who allegedly supplied guns in murder of pop star's lover to be surrendered to Lithuania

The ex-wrestler was jailed here in 2018, after he admitted to conspiring with others to murder James 'Mago' Gately

Imre Arakas

Paul NeilanSunday World

Notorious international hitman Imre Arakas, who is alleged to have supplied guns to an organised gang in the murder of a Lithuanian pop star's lover, is to be surrendered to that country to face trial, the High Court ruled today.

Arakas (63), whose last address was in Sopruse, Tallinn, Estonia, is wanted to face charges which include a count of murder as well as firearms and conspiracy-related charges in relation to the shooting of Deimantas Bugavicius in November 2015.

At the High Court on Monday, Mr Justice Paul Burns said there was no ambiguity in the warrant received from Lithuania for Arakas' surrender. Additional information had been supplied to Irish authorities stating that Arakas was to be tried with murder, possession of weapons and criminal damage when participating in preparatory acts before the murder.

Bugavicius and pop star Vita Jakutiene

Mr Justice Burns said the detail, time and location of the alleged offences had been supplied and that there was no issue with those offences not corresponding with Irish law.

The judge said the respondent had not rebutted the presumption that Arakas was to be tried and that the decision had been made to try Arakas in Lithuania for the alleged offences.

Arakas, who was present in court for today's hearing, spoke only to confirm to his barrister, Aoife O'Leary BL, that he had no issue with flying nor had any outstanding Covid-related issues.

Lawyers for the Estonian native had opposed his extradition to Lithuania as they argued the authorities there had "changed the narrative" in their description of the charges he faces. Arakas (63) is wanted for murder but had challenged his surrender on the grounds that no charge had been "formalised" against him.

The State had written to authorities in Lithuania to clarify what exactly Arakas was wanted for in their bid to extradite him over the murder of Mr Bugavicius.

An eyewitness to the murder of the pop star's lover has said that the hitman, who has also been jailed here for his role in a Kinahan cartel murder plot, was not present at the scene. Arakas told gardai that he was in Spain on the relevant dates.

However, Lithuanian authorities allege that Arakas was part of a three-man gang that conspired to murder Mr Bugavicius, who was alleged to have had an affair with pop star Vita Jakutiene.

James 'Mago' Gately

The ex-wrestler was jailed by the Special Criminal Court here for six years in December 2018, after he admitted to conspiring with others to murder James 'Mago' Gately in Northern Ireland between April 3 and 4, 2017.

The court heard that Arakas was a member of the Estonian Defence League in the 1990s and was involved in the separatist movement from the USSR. The married father of two had been "scarred and marked deeply" by imprisonment in Russia, the court also heard.

He has previous convictions which include causing deliberate bodily harm, escaping from prison and unlawful handling of firearms.

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