A Swedish kickboxer has appeared in court charged with the murder of a music executive with links to a drugs gang targeted in raids in Dubai.
The music producer, Flamur Beqiri, 36, who was once a wanted crime lord in Sweden, died from multiple gunshots wounds after being attacked at his £1.5m home in Battersea, London, on Christmas Eve last year.
Beqiri, an Albanian who grew up in Malmo, Sweden, had links to Spain's Costal Del Sol drugs gangs and is understood to have fled to the UK five years ago after receiving death threats.
He was associated with a Swedish drugs gang, called Los Suecos, ‘the Swedes’, who operate on the Costa Del Sol and were allegedly led by Amir Faten Mekky, who was arrested in a raid in Dubai last week.
Mr Mekky was on Europe’s most wanted list as being an alleged gangland leader and the “financier” of alleged Dutch drugs lord, Radwan Al Taghi, who was arrested in Dubai last December and is in custody awaiting trial for multiple murders.
Beqiri was with his wife and young son at the time of his killing.
Swedish citizen Anis Fouad Hemissi, 22, was arrested at Copenhagen Airport on January 20 under a European arrest warrant.
He was extradited from Denmark to the UK and and faces charges of murder and of possessing a firearm.
On Tuesday, Mr Hemissi, from Malmo, Sweden, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court via video link from a police station at Heathrow Airport.
Shaven-headed and bearded, he spoke only to confirm his name and Swedish nationality.
"It’s a case involving a charge of murder and possession of a firearm, it’s indictable only,” said District Judge Nicholas Rimmer.
“Can I clarify to assist the Central Criminal Court, is it correct that not guilty pleas are anticipated?”
Mr Hemissi’s solicitor, Khaleeq Zaman, confirmed his client will deny the charges.
He was remanded in custody until Thursday when he will appear at London’s Old Bailey.
At the time of Beqiri’s death, British detectives revealed they were working with Swedish authorities over the possibility he had been involved in a drugs war with North African criminals.
“We believe that Flamur Beqiri may have been involved in criminal activities in Sweden, and in connection with our Swedish colleagues, we hope to understand the episodes that have led to someone seeking revenge on Flamur in Britain,” Detective Inspector Jamie Stevenson, from Scotland Yard, said earlier this year.
Beqiri had been running a record company in London called 2020rec.
He was once one of Sweden’s most wanted men over a €2 million international drugs trafficking case and knew several victims of recent gangland murders.
He had been associated with Mr Mekky, who had been on the run since evading capture in Spain in 2018. He then fled to Morocco and later travelled on to Dubai.
Mr Mekky was apprehended in Dubai last week in a joint international operation and is wanted for murders in the Spanish towns of San Pedro Alcántara and Estepona in 2018.
Spanish authorities are seeking Mr Mekky’s extradition.
The Los Suecos gang is suspected of ordering kidnappings, shootings and arsons in the Costa Del Sol.
Last December, Mr Mekky’s associate Taghi was arrested following an international manhunt when Dubai Police joined forces with Dutch officials and discovered him hiding out in a luxury villa in the resort region.
Within three days of his arrest, authorities in Dubai deported him back to the Netherlands to face multiple murder charges.
A long-running turf war involving Dutch-Moroccans has seen the loss of many innocent lives across Europe.
Taghi, who is a joint Dutch and Moroccan citizen, has been cited in court papers as being behind some of the deaths.
It is alleged he used a biker gang, known as the Angels of Death, to carry out executions for both drug feuds and revenge attacks.
Those allegedly killed on his orders were targeted using grenades, guns and explosives.