Art Dealer Helly Nahmad Released From Prison

Helly Nahmad. Photo ©2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.
Helly Nahmad. Photo ©2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

Mega-dealer Helly Nahmad has been released from prison just five months into a one-year and one-day sentence for operating an illegal, high-stakes gambling ring out of his apartment in New York’s Trump Tower, according to a report in the Observer.

Nahmad, who was serving time in a federal correctional facility in Otisville, New York, has been transferred, reportedly at some point in November, to a halfway house in the Bronx, according to his attorneys.

Nahmad was notably absent from the most recent edition of the major Art Basel in Miami Beach fair, where the Nahmad family booth sported a roomful of late Picassos and a massive, hanging Alexander Calder that consumed nearly half the space.


Helly Nahmad, Dream Hotel, NYC, February 13, 2012.
Copyright © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

His absence from the most recent round of fall auctions was notable, as many from the Nahmad clan typically sit and bid prominently from their usual perch in the front of the auction rooms at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

Nahmad’s attorney Benjamin Brafman told the Observer that his client will be allowed to leave the halfway house regularly in order to work.

The early release comes as a surprise since efforts to have Nahmad’s sentence reduced to community service, numerous positive letters from friends and associates, and announced plans to help disadvantaged youth through art education, failed to persuade a judge that he should avoid jail time. In November 2013, Nahmad, now 36, pleaded guilty to one count of operating an illegal gambling business.

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