As many as three dozen people have been charged for illegal gambling and money laundering. According to federal prosecutors, the arrested have been involved in an illegal gambling racket that stretched from Manhattan to Moscow and included underground poker games run in a prestigious art gallery for celebrities.
According to the 84-page federal indictment, the illegal high-stakes poker games attracted “very wealthy individuals working in the financial industry” as well as celebrities. However, the names of these influential celebrity players were not mentioned in the indictment. The feds charged as many as 34 people with money laundering, racketeering, extortion, and illegal gambling.
Vadim Trincher, who is one of those arrested, stands accused of running an illegal sports betting and poker outfit in collaboration with a Russian mafia leader. His wife, however, refuses to accept that her husband is guilty. Neither Trincher nor the others arrested have filed any plea with regard to the case.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stated that it raided Helly Nahmad Gallery, located within Hotel Carlyle in upper east Manhattan. The feds nabbed Helly Nahmad in Los Angeles and charged him for illegal gambling, racketeering, and money laundering. Neither the gallery nor Nahmad’s legal representatives have made any comment.
Federal prosecutors have accused Nahmad and Trincher of laundering gambling funds through shell companies based in Cyprus and various bank accounts. None of the sports persons, celebrations, and financiers who took part in the illegal poker games at the gallery has been arrested.
Mr. Trincher stands accused of laundering $50 million. The federal authorities who raided his apartment found poker chips worth $2 million from the Las Vegas based Bellagio Casino and $75,000 cash. But Mrs. Trincher said that her husband made money by playing poker and that she does not know Alimzham Tokhtakhounov, who is the Russian mafia leader allegedly associated with Mr. Trincher.
At the hearing held in a federal court on Tuesday, prosecutors claimed that they have recordings of Trincher threatening gamblers who could not pay off their gambling debts. Allegedly, he hired a person called Maxim, who would go around collecting debts. George Venizelos, FBI assistant director-in-charge, said: “Today’s charges demonstrate the scope and reach of Russian organized crime.”
The FBI says that it has now looking for Donald McCalmont, who is charged with using a plumbing company, called Titan P&H LLC, for money laundering. Federal authorities say that the company was obtained from a gambler who owed McCalmont money.