FBI breaks up high-end gambling ring in NYC tied to Russian mafia

April 16, 2013 at 3:02 PM

NEW YORK, April 16 (UPI) -- Federal agents said they raided a posh Manhattan hotel and gallery as part of a crackdown on illegal gambling operations conducted by the Russian mafia.

More than 30 people have been charged in connection with the alleged online gambling and money laundering operation, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Agents raided the Helly Nahmad gallery inside the Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue, a frequent destination for celebrities and the ultra wealthy. The gallery's owner, Hillel Nahmad, a prominent, wealthy Lebanese art dealer known as Helly, is among those charged.

At the center of the case is Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, accused by federal prosecutors of being an elite member of the Russian mafia who oversaw the gambling and international money laundering operation. The FBI alleges tens of millions of dollars were made through Russian gambling operations, laundered through shell companies in Cyprus and then sent to the United States.

Nahmad is accused of organizing illegal high stakes poker games that catered to Wall Street financiers, Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes.

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