| 14.1°C Dublin

Lithuanian police seek extradition of Kinahan hitman over murder of pop star’s lover - court


Estonian hitman Imre Arakas

Estonian hitman Imre Arakas

Estonian hitman Imre Arakas

 An Estonian hitman, who was jailed for his role in a Kinahan cartel murder plot and who is wanted over the murder of a Lithuanian pop star’s lover, will challenge a bid to extradite him in October.

Imre Arakas (62) was jailed by the Special Criminal Court for six years in December 2018 after he admitted to conspiring with others to murder James Gately in Northern Ireland between April 3 and 4, 2017. He is currently serving his sentence in a segregated block in Portlaoise Prison.

Passing sentence at the Special Criminal Court in 2018, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said Arakas had agreed to the “vital role” of pulling the trigger for financial gain and he was prepared to offer his “own detail” on how the murder of Mr Gately was to be performed.

The Estonian separatist told his associates in a text message that he would take out his target with “one shot to the head”. The judge said the married father-of-two was “ready, willing and able” in his dedicated role.

Lithuanian authorities also suspect that ex-wrestler Arakas was allegedly part of a three-man gang that conspired to murder a man who had an affair with famous Lithuanian pop star Vita Jakutiene.

Lithuanian police are seeking the surrender of Arakas, whose a last address in Sopruse, Tallinn, Estonia, 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. There is also another warrant for the sole charge of criminal damage.

Aoife O’Leary BL told Mr Justice Paul Burns that additional information from the Lithuanian authorities had been sought and received, that affidavits had been filed in respect of her client and that two other men had now been charged in Lithuania.

Arakas, a former freedom fighter who was previously part of a movement to separate Estonia from the former USSR, was joined by video-link from Portlaoise Prison for the brief hearing.

Ms O’Leary told the court that her client’s sentence is due to expire in October 2029 and that she would be seeking a senior counsel in the case, as it was a “very significant matter of murder, firearms and criminal damage”.

Arakas appeared by video-link but expressed a desire to be present in the court for his extradition hearing.

Mr Justice Paul Burns fixed 9 October for the hearing with the matter in for mention on 20 July to resolve any outstanding matters

Online Editors