Guilty Plea for Billionaire Art Dealer "Helly" Nahmad

  • Helly Nahmad

    Helly Nahmad

New York-based billionaire art dealer Hillel "Helly" Nahmad admitted last week to running a $100-million gambling ring that entertained the likes of Wall Street financiers, sports figures, and A-list movie stars from Leonardo diCaprio to Matt Damon.

Nahmad, 35, pleaded guilty in a Manhattan district court to operating a gambling business. He agreed to pay $6,427,000 and to forfeit a Raoul Dufy painting titled “Carnaval à Nice, 1937,” worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. His plea bargain with prosecutors dropped other charges, such as money laundering, racketeering, and conspiracy, that could have landed him in prison for up to 92 years. He now faces up to five years behind bars.

Worth an estimated $3 billion by The New York Times, Nahmad is part of the art-dealing family known for their top-tier collection of Impressionist and Modernist art.

Nahmad says he started with a group of friends "betting on sports games." He worked with Russian organized crime and in April, Nahmad was indicted with 34 others for their roles in two related gambling and bookmaking rings accused of running illegal high-stakes online gambling, as well as underground poker games.

They took in tens of millions of dollars through illegal websites in the U.S. and laundered $100 million through businesses from plumbing to real estate and car repair, according to the indictment.

Russian Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov is at the top of the indictment. He is wanted by Interpol and was previously indicted for allegedly bribing ice-skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Another named in the indictment sent mixed martial arts fighters to collect debts.

Nahmad is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19.


More News Feed Headlines

Churchill's Coast Scene on the Riviera

Blenheim Palace Displays New Acquisitions of Key Works From Its Lost Collections

  • February 14, 2019 22:29

A new exhibition at the UK's magnificent Blenheim Palace is showcasing recently acquired works of ...

Read More

Thomas Hart Benton, “Youth Music - Study”, 1973.  Oil on board, 14 ¼ x 17 ¾ inches.

'Thomas Hart Benton: Mechanics of Form' Brings Together Key Works by the Famed Regionalist at The Surovek Gallery

  • February 06, 2019 13:41

The Surovek Gallery in Palm Beach, Florida, is presenting a new exhibition of around 65 works ...

Read More

Don Ed Hardy (American, b.  1945) Surf or Die, 2004.  Color lithograph with metallic gold powder, 772 x 572 mm (30 3/8 x 22 1/2 in.) Printed by Bud Shark.  Published by Shark’s Ink, Colorado.

From Maroon 5's Adam Levine to a De Young Museum Exhibition This Summer, Tattoo Art Won't Be Unseen

  • February 05, 2019 13:22

On Sunday, the Super Bowl halftime performance with Maroon 5 gave a surprising show of tattoo ...

Read More

C.G.  Jung, The Red Book (detail), page 131, © 2009 Foundation of the Works of C.G.  Jung, Zurich.  First published by W.W.  Norton & Company

The Art of Carl Gustav Jung Is Brought Together in a Slightly Mind-Blowing Exhibition

  • February 05, 2019 11:56

The Illuminated Imagination: The Art of C. G. Jung, an exhibition now on view at the University ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar


ArtfixDaily Artwire