The New York Times continues to dine out on the Helly Nahmad gambling case by running its second page-one story in a week on art and money laundering. Though, as the section below admits, art has nothing to do with the gambling case:
But the case, in which investigators listened to Mr. Nahmad’s cellphone conversations over a period of months, also raises questions about how he conducted himself as an art dealer. In one conversation he speaks of using the family’s art business as a cover to move around illicit money, advising a woman named Lisa to wire $150,000 to the bank account of his father, David.
“Sometimes a bank needs a justification for a wire, right?” Mr. Nahmad said, according to a government account of the conversation, in March 2012. “We can just say, Oh, you are buying a painting. If they need justification, you know what I mean? You just be like, Oh yeah, I bought a, you know, Picasso drawing or something.”
It is unclear whether that transaction took place, and no charges related to the use of the business to launder money are contained in the indictment. The charges describe two related gambling networks — one led by Mr. Nahmad — that laundered tens of millions of dollars through shell companies in Cyprus; legitimate hedge funds and real estate assets in the United States; a car-repair shop in Brooklyn; and even a Bronx plumbing company that had been taken over by the gambling ring as payment for a bettor’s losses.