Art & Design

Money Laundering Poker Ring Running Art Dealer Helly Nahmad is a Free Man

Art & Design

Money Laundering Poker Ring Running Art Dealer Helly Nahmad is a Free Man

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This guy is my hero. Backstory:

Hillel “Helly” Nahmad, who had apartments at Manhattan’s Trump Tower, a model for a girlfriend and an art gallery that featured modern masters such as Pablo Picasso…pleaded guilty to being a leader and participating in a high-stakes gambling network that catered to celebrities and the very rich and laundered more than $100 million in proceeds. Nahmad acknowledged during his plea in November that he was the leader and organizer of the gaming business, the primary source of financing and was entitled to a substantial share of the scheme’s profits.

Helly, 35, was sentenced to a year in prison last April. He was released this weekend and celebrated his freedom yesterday at Cirpriani’s, according to a source. I actually would have paid $19 for a Bellini (the drink was actually invented by Giuseepi Cipriani in the 1940s at Harry’s Bar in Venice) to have toasted this young legend. The super-wealthy/cool/Russian-mafia-tied felon is friends with Leonard DiCaprio and a de facto member of the actor’s former Pussy Posse, which has since been renamed (by me) the more politically correct The Vagina Monopoly.

His family runs Helly Nahmad Gallery at 980 Madison Avenue, the same building that houses Gagosian’s uptown flagship. Most recently, the gallery showed Sigmar Polke. When we walked in to the near-perfect show, we saw the other guy from My Name is Earl, not ex-skater boi Jason Lee, the funnier lazy dude, Ethan Supple–also a PussPoss/VagMon man–hanging out with nightclub owner Richie Akiva.

The poker game Helly ran in the back of the family gallery was one of the largest private games in America, with buy-ins of $100,000 or more. This was the game that Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire played in that was written about by former co-organizer Molly Bloom in a book released this year.Bloom said Maguire was an asshole who once yelled at her to bark like a seal for a tip. Tobey seems so nice in the Spider Man. Weird.

Welcome home Helly. Can we like meet, bro?