Notorious international hitman Imre Arakas is said to have acted as a mercenary, supplying arms to an organized gang involved in the murder of a Lithuanian pop star’s lover, the Supreme Court heard.
Lawyers for Arakas, a native of Estonia, who is wanted in connection with the murder, say they are refusing to extradite him to Lithuania because authorities there “changed the narrative” in their description of the charges.
Arakas, 64, is wanted for murder but has challenged his surrender on the grounds that no charges against him have been “formalised”.
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 a man there.
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.
Lithuanian authorities claim that Arakas was part of a three-man gang conspiring to murder a man said to have been having an affair with pop star Vita Yakutiene.
However, Arakas informed Gardaí that he was in Spain on the relevant dates.
Arakas, whose last address was in Sopruse, Tallinn, Estonia, faces charges including murder and firearms and conspiracy in connection with the shooting death of Deimantas Bugavicius in November 2015.
The ex-wrestler was sentenced to six years in prison by the Special Criminal Court in December 2018 after admitting to conspiring with others to murder James “Mago” Gately between April 3 and 4, 2017 in Northern Ireland.
In the High Court, Mr Judge Paul Burns of Remy Farrell SC for Arakas was told that his client had provided investigators in Lithuania with an alibi stating that he was in Spain at the time of the shooting.
Mr Farrell said there could also be an issue regarding the location of the alleged crimes against his client.
Mr Farrell said the EAW must set out specific circumstances when making an allegation of his client’s involvement.
Mr Justice Burns said the murder offense is still being alleged but it has now been made clear that Arakas is 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.
In response, Siobhán Ní Chúlacháinn BL, representing the state, said additional information regarding the arrest warrant was received in July this year, saying that Arakas was part of an organized group when he was trading with others “for mercenary reasons”.
He is said to have been 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 has changed, the legal basis has not, and that the Lithuanian authorities 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.
Mr Justice Burns said he hoped to have a verdict on the case by November 7.
Arakas, who appeared in court today with a long beard and ponytail, was detained without a jury by the Special Criminal Court after pleading guilty between March 3 and 3.
Hired by the Kinahan crime gang to assassinate Mr Gately, he had told his associates in encrypted text messages that he would take out his target with “a shot to the head.”
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/crime/kinahan-hitman-imre-arakas-supplied-guns-used-to-murder-pop-stars-lover-court-told-42057013.html Kinahan hitman Imre Arakas supplied weapons used to murder the pop star’s lover, the court said