More than thirty people were charged by federal authorities in a massive illegal gambling, money laundering, and extortion scheme tied to Russian organized crime, according to an indictment in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York.
The operation allegedly involved two criminal organizations, Nahmad-Trincher (based in Los Angeles and NYC), which catered to millionaires, billionaires and poker pros, and Taiwanchik-Trincher (based in Kiev, NYC, and Moscow), which serviced oligarchs from Russia and the former Soviet Union.
According the indictment, these groups had operations spanning across continents with defendants located in Los Angeles, Russia, New York and the former Soviet Union, bank accounts in Switzerland, holding companies in Cyprus and the United States, and a gambling website in Taiwan.
The characters in the drama include the son of a billionaire art dealer, a Bronx plumber, a JPMorgan branch manager, a real estate firm in New York, a car repair shop in Brooklyn, and a Russian man charged with allegedly bid-rigging the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Games, etc.
Basically, this goes deep.
The Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization, which the indictment identifies as an "international organized crime group with leadership based in New York City, Kiev, and Moscow," was allegedly led by Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov (a.k.a. "Alik"), Vadim Trincher (a.k.a. "Dima"), and Anatoly Golubchick (a.k.a. "Tony"), the indictment said. They are all named as defendants.
You might recognize the name Tokhatkhounov. He was the guy charged with allegedly bribing officials at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, according to the indictment.
Based in Russia, Tokhatkhounov was allegedly referred to as "Vor," which is defined as a Russian term meaning "Thief-in-Law."
It's basically like a version of the "Godfather," and is a moniker bestowed on the highest-level criminal figures from the former Soviet Union. According to the indictment, a "Vor" gets tribute from other criminals, offers protection, and uses "their authority to resolve disputes among criminals."
Tokhatkhounov's group allegedly ran an illegal gambling business, money laundering, extortion, and other criminal operations. The crux of their business, however, was a series of high-stakes poker games and gambling activities frequented by oligarchs.
Nahmad-Trincher, based in Los Angeles and NYC, was structured in much the same way, but catered to Wall Streeters, pro athletes, and Hollywood stars, The New York Times reported.
No famous figures were named specifically in the indictment.
Names or not, we're talking big money here — like $50 million running through Cypriot and American shell companies, or $499,800 sent to a bank account in Taiwan owned by an illegal gambling website operating in the United States, or $850,000 moving from a Swiss bank account to a U.S. bank account under the control of Norman "The Oracle" Seigel.
To hide all these transactions, says the complaint, the Trincher groups relied on a sophisticated money laundering operation. Not only did they run money through a Brooklyn car garage, a real estate company, and an online used car dealership, but they also used a JP Morgan branch manager in NYC named Ronald Uy.
Uy, who was named as a defendant, allegedly assisted "in structuring several transactions at the Bank designed in part to avoid generating currency transaction reports," according to the indictment.
Of course, gambling doesn't work out for everyone all the time. When one client wins, another one must lose. Losers playing in the Trincher group's high stakes games could, according to the Feds, expect violence or at least threats of it.
In one case," Nahmad-Trincher allegedly took control of 50% of "Client-3's" Bronx-based plumbing business when he racked up $2 million in gambling debt.
There were several arrests made today in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and other places, according to the New York Post.
Earlier this morning, the FBI raided Helly Nahmad Art Gallery at the swanky Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The Feds were looking for Helly Nahmad, the son of billionaire art baron David Nahmad.