In an eleventh hour, President Donald Trump pardoned art dealer Helly Nahmad, who was sentenced to one year and one day in prison in 2014 after pleading guilty to a single federal gambling charge.
Nahmad, a member of the Nahmad family dynasty and son of art collector David Nahmad, was caught operating a $ 100 million illegal gambling ring from his apartment in Trump Tower in New York.
He owns the entire 51st floor of the building, which is said to have cost a total of $ 21 million.
“President Trump has given Hillel Nahmad a full apology,” the White House said in a statement. “This pardon is supported by members of his community. Mr. Nahmad was convicted of a sports game crime. Since his conviction, he has led an exemplary life and dedicated himself to the good of his community. “
Authorities raided the Helly Nahmad Gallery in the Carlyle Hotel on New York’s Madison Avenue in 2013, accusing the dealer of funding a high-stakes poker game and sports betting ring with alleged links to Russian organized crime figures. These links were never proven, although several other Russians were convicted in the case.
After Nahmad’s arrest, he quickly posted $ 10 million bail using his Trump Tower pad as security and was spotted playing a New York Knicks game at court. He reportedly partied harder than ever in the lead up to his time behind bars.
Despite Nahmad’s wealth and connections, the court rejected a lighter sentence for community service after Nahmad offered to offer tours of his gallery to disadvantaged youth.
Nahmad ended up serving five months of his sentence in a federal correctional facility in Otisville, New York, before being transferred to a house in the Bronx. He was released from house arrest in May 2015 and returned to the Art Basel art scene in Switzerland the following month with the permission of a judge.
Well known in the international art industry, the Nahmad family are known for their extensive collection of modern and impressionist blue chip art, which is reputedly valued at $ 3 billion.
Nahmad is among the 143 nightly pardons Trump issued during his final terms in office, including former adviser to President Steve Bannon and rapper Lil Wayne.
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