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Gunman: Imre Arakas

Gunman: Imre Arakas

Gunman: Imre Arakas

THE gangland murder of a Lithuanian crime boss - for which Kinahan Cartel gunman Imre Arakas is facing extradition - is now the subject of a hard-hitting stage production.

Last month, a court heard how Lithuanian officials want Arakas (62) - currently serving a sentence for the attempted murder of James 'Mago' Gately - extradited to face charges for conspiracy to murder.

Arakas was allegedly part of a three-man gang that conspired to murder the mobster who had an affair with Lithuanian pop star Vita Jakutiene.

The murder, and its links to high-society, caused shockwaves in Lithuania - and is now the subject of a play directed by Latvia's best known filmmaker.

I Had a Cousin recalls how Deimantas 'Diamond' Bugavicius was blasted to death in his car with his pop-star girlfriend asleep on his shoulder in 2015.

His cousin and writer Rasa Bugavicute-Pece has explored why Deimantas became caught up in the underworld where his driving ambition led to his brutal death.

The pair had been raised together but even as a teenager it was clear that Deimantas was travelling down a different path as part of the Kaunas mafia in Lithuania.

The play, staged in Estonia, places the writer at the centre of the story as she questions how her cousin made the decisions that led to his bloody death at the age of 27.

It was part of a prestigious festival in the town Rakvere and was directed by Latvian filmmaker Valters Silis.

"This whole criminal network is international and connects people from different places. But our story is more personal," he said.

The real-life events dealt with in I Had A Cousin are still unfolding in Lithuania where Estonian nationals Hans Erik Ehvert and Arle Grabbi are currently on trial for the killing of Bugavicius.in a high-security court.

It is claimed by investigators that Imre Arakas put 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.

The High Court has set a date for Arakas' extradition hearing next October. smuggling cocaine.

Pop star 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.

Arakas is serving a six year sentence in Ireland after being convicted of conspiring to kill James 'Mago' Gately for the Kinahan Cartel.

Lithuanian authorities are seeking his extradition to face trial there for his alleged role in Bugavicius' murder.

In Ireland the High Court set a date for the Arakas' extradition hearing next October in which it is claimed he was part of the three man hit-team.

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.

Lithuanian police suspect he was behind the wheel of a Renault Megane, sourced in France, when the victim was shot dead.

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

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".

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 the two-month period.

They alleged that Arakas was in possession of a handgun and 9mm calibre Luger ammunition in connection with the murder, which has been classified as a contract killing.

Irish Independent