Notorious international hitman Imre Arakas, who is said to have supplied weapons to an organized gang in the murder of a Lithuanian pop star’s mistress, should be handed over to this country to face trial, the Supreme Court ruled today.
Rakas, 63, whose last address was in Sopruse, Tallinn, Estonia, is reported to be facing charges of murder, firearms and conspiracy in connection with the shooting death of Deimantas Bugavicius in November 2015.
On Monday in the High Court, Judge Paul Burns said there was no ambiguity in the arrest warrant received from Lithuania for Arakas’ surrender. Additional information had been provided to the Irish authorities that Arakas was to be charged with murder, possession of weapons and vandalism when he participated in acts leading up to the murder.
Mr Justice Burns said the details, time and place of the alleged offenses had been communicated and there was no problem with these offenses not complying with Irish law.
The judge said the defendant had not rebutted the presumption that Arakas should be tried and that the decision had been made to try Arakas in Lithuania for the alleged offences.
Arakas, who was present in court at today’s hearing, spoke only to confirm to his lawyer, Aoife O’Leary BL, that he had no problems flying nor any outstanding Covid-related issues.
The Estonian-born’s lawyers had opposed his extradition to Lithuania, arguing that the authorities there had “changed the narrative” in their description of the charges against him. Arakas, 63, is wanted for murder but had challenged his surrender on the grounds that no charges had been “formalised” against him.
The state had written to the authorities in Lithuania to clarify what exactly Arakas was wanted for, in order to extradite him for the murder of Mr Bugavicius.
An eyewitness to the pop star’s mistress’s murder said the killer, who was also being held here for his role in a Kinahan cartel assassination plot, was not present at the scene. Arakas informed Gardai that he was in Spain on the relevant dates.
However, Lithuanian authorities claim that Arakas was part of a three-man gang conspiring to murder Mr Bugavicius, who is said to have been having an affair with pop star Vita Yakutiene.
The ex-wrestler was jailed here in December 2018 by the Special Criminal Court for six years after admitting he was between 3 and 3 April 2018.
The court heard that Arakas was a member of the Estonian Defense League and involved in the separatist movement from the USSR in the 1990s. The married father of two was “scarred and deeply marked” by his detention in Russia, the court further heard.
He has previous convictions, among other things, intentional assault, escape from prison and unlawful use of firearms.
The court had previously heard that Arakas had provided investigators in Lithuania with an alibi showing that he was in Spain at the time of the shooting.
Remy Farrell SC, for Arakas, had said there could also be an issue regarding the location of the alleged crimes against his client.
Mr Farrell had said that under the European Arrest Warrant certain circumstances must be adduced when making an allegation of his client’s involvement.
Mr Justice Burns had said the murder offense was still being alleged, but it had now been clarified that Arakas was no longer believed to be the actual shooter at the scene.
Mr Farrell said there had been a “change of narrative” in the warrant which needed to clarify both where the accused was located at the time the alleged offense was committed and when it took place.
At the previous hearing, Siobhán Ní Chúlacháinn BL said on behalf of the state that additional information was received in July this year regarding the warrant that Arakas was part of an organized group if he was trading with others “for mercenary reasons”. It is alleged that he was involved in preparatory activities, including surveillance, supplying weapons and planning routes for the organization.
Ms Ní Chúlacháinn said the warrant alleges that Arakas supplied two nine-millimeter handguns, as well as clothing and chemical cleaning supplies to others while he was in the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, before the shooting.
She said that while the factual basis of the allegation had changed, the legal basis had not and the Lithuanian authorities had always intended to prosecute Arakas for his alleged role in the murder.
The attorney said it was “very clear” that the legal nature of the allegation remained the same.
Arakas, who appeared in court with a long beard and long, gray hair, had previously been jailed without a jury by the Special Criminal Court after pleading guilty between the 3 he was hired by the Kinahan crime gang to murder Mr Gately and had informed his staff in encrypted text messages that he would take out his target with “a headshot”.
At the sentencing hearing in the Special Criminal Court, Judge Tony Hunt said Arakas had agreed to the “vital role” in operating the deduction for financial gain and that he was willing to give his “own details” of how Mr Gately’s murder was carried out .
Arakas traveled to Ireland from Alicante, Spain, on 3 April 2017 to kill Mr Gately and has been in custody in Ireland since April 2017.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/hitman-imre-arakas-to-be-extradited-from-ireland-to-lithuania-for-trial-over-murder-of-pop-stars-lover-42124832.html Hitman Imre Arakas is to be extradited from Ireland to Lithuania for the murder of a pop star’s mistress