New York City art dealer Hillel ("Helly") Nahmad allegedly was the leader behind the US operations of a Russian mob-related high-stakes gambling and sports-betting ring now under investigation by the FBI.
Nahmad was one of 34 people named in the 83-page indictment made public Tuesday. Among those suspects was Russian mobster Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov who was previously charged with planning to rig sporting events at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
A-list celebrities, sports stars, and Wall Street bankers---who have not been officially named---were among those who took part in the ultra-exclusive sports-betting and gambling rings allegedly organized by Nahmad in New York and Los Angeles.
Nahmad may have money laundered $50 million in illegal poker proceeds. He was picked up in Los Angeles on Tuesday after his Manhattan gallery was raided.
Tokhtakhounov ran related sports betting rings in Russia and laundered money through Cyrpus banks to the U.S.
The son of billionaire art dealer and collector David Nahmad, Helly operates his upper-end art gallery out of the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, and if convicted, he faces up to 92 years in prison.
His art business is charged with criminal activity, too. Nahmad and another man allegedly “used interstate and international wires in furtherance of a scheme to defraud an individual concerning a sale of a piece of art that they claimed to be worth approximately $300,000" but was in fact worth about $50,000.
Nahmad's alleged co-conspirators, 30 of whom faced prosecturos in district court in New York on Tuesday, face a myriad of charges. One, Arthur Azen, faces a maximum sentence of 115 years in prison for operating sports booking, illegal gambling, money laundering and extortion.
Posing as a plumber in the Bronx, Azen allegedly laundered money through a plumbing business called Titan. He is accused of sending mixed martial arts fighters to collect from debtors.
GalleristNY has posted the indictment here.