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going down Three men linked to Kinahan hitman Imre Arakas convicted of Lithuanian gang hit

Three men were found guilty this week in connection with the murder of gang boss Deimantas ‘The Diamond’ Bugavičius.

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Imre Arakas

Imre Arakas

Imre Arakas

THREE men alleged to have been assisted by Kinahan cartel hitman Imre Arakas have been jailed for their roles in a high-profile gangland killing in Lithuania.

Two Estonian men Arle Grabbi and Hans Erik Ehvert and Lithuanian Ričardas Baika were found guilty this week in connection with the murder of gang boss Deimantas ‘The Diamond’ Bugavičius.

His pop star girlfriend narrowly avoided injury when the gunman opened fire as he sat in his car near his home in Kaunas.

The two Estonian men both got 16-year prison sentences while Baika was handed down a 13-year sentence after three years of legal proceedings.

Arakas, who is fighting extradition to Lithuania over the murder, is suspected to have organised the assassination after being contacted by a rival gangster in Spain.

He is accused of putting the hit team together after the plot was organised through Lithuanian gangster Sergejus Beglikas - the wheelchair bound criminal suspected of being part of a cartel that made €680 million smuggling cocaine.

It is alleged that Arakas supplied optical sights for a handgun in Spain and Estonia, as well as chemicals to erase chemical traces of firearms and clothing to be used in the murder.

He is also thought to have sourced a Renault car stolen in France used in the killing.

When arrested and charged by officers from the Garda Extradition Unit last year, the Estonian national told officers: "I was in Spain at my friend's birthday."

Irish officers questioned him on behalf of their Lithuanian colleagues.

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Imre Arakas giving evidence via video link from Portlaoise Prison

Imre Arakas giving evidence via video link from Portlaoise Prison

Imre Arakas giving evidence via video link from Portlaoise Prison

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Lithuanian authorities allege that Arakas was "part of an organised group that for mercenary reasons acted in a manner in order to endanger the life of Deimantas Bugavicius".

At a recent court hearing in which Arakas appeared by video link from his Portlaoise Prison cell, he again claimed to be innocent and that he was in Spain at the time.

Despite serving a six-year sentence in Ireland for a botched attempt to kill James ‘Mago’ Gately, Arakas told the court he had nothing to do with criminal activity.

Lithuanian police also say that they have established the routes - using both plane and car - by which Arakas entered the country on a number of dates in a two-month period.

They alleged that Arakas was in possession of a handgun and 9mm calibre Luger ammunition in connection with the murder.

The trial has made headlines in the Baltic countries where Bugavicius girlfriend is a well-known singer.

Vika Jakutienė, a former member of girl band Naujosios Pupyte, gave her testimony in the proceedings in which she described how she witnessed the gangland hit.

Jakutienè, who was married at the time of her affair with the victim, gave her testimony in the proceedings in which she described how she witnessed the gangland hit.

She and Bugavicius had been bowling that day and were returning home to their apartment in their car just before midnight, with her head resting on her lover’s shoulder.

She saw a man get out of a silver car, his face partially covered by a scarf, with a gun in his hand—an image she said she’ll never forget

After the second shot she remembers shouting for her lover to drive away but he didn’t react.

Jakutienè, who was pregnant with their baby at the time, said the shots were fired deliberately and methodically at Bugavicius.

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