Art Dealer Says His Family Culture Caused Gambling Problem

  • April 24, 2014 22:19

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Helly Nahmad

A scion of the billionaire art-dealing Nahmad family blamed his upbringing for a gambling addiction that got him busted as part of a $100 million high-stakes poker ring.

Helly Nahmad, 35, head of an eponymous New York gallery, hosted A-list celebrities and sports stars at his $21.7 million Trump Tower condo where high-stakes gambling went on. He was connected to the Russian mob and a character who used mixed-martial arts to collect debts for the gambling organization.

“Since I was young, gambling was part of my family’s recreational life,” Nahmad wrote to the federal court in a bid to soften his sentence. 

His father, David, corroborated the story, writing that “Helly watched me gamble, sometimes for high stakes, and it became part of his life, too.” The father often paid the son's debts. Helly was hooked by age 14.

Helly Nahmad is seeking leniency in his sentencing on April 30. He sent a plea to the federal judge offering to do community service, by imparting his art knowledge to the city's underprivleged. Prosecutors are pushing for 12 to 18 months of prison time.

Tags: european art

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