Sunday, May 26, 2024

UPDATED 8/23: Leonardo DiCaprio BFF Helly Nahmad, Jailed for a Year in Gambling Sting, May Face Twist in Probation Ending Next Week


UPDATED AUGUST 23RD with corrections:

You may remember the name Helly Nahmad. He’s the son of the Madison Avenue art dealer and BFF to Leonardo DiCaprio. (Correction: Mr. Nahmad’s attorney says his father is not involved in the art gallery. We regret the confusion.)

Back in 2013, Helly received a one year prison sentence and three years’ probation for being part of an international gambling scandal. He was portrayed in Aaron Sorkin’s movie, “Molly’s Game,” based on the book by Molly Bloom’s book, in which Nahmad is mentioned several times concerning Bloom’s high stake poker games.

CORRECTION: Helly was accused (but not convicted) of laundering millions of dollars along with two Russians  and more than two dozen others in a scheme that included seven-figure card games, international sports betting rings and mixed martial arts fighters as debt collectors. He also had to pay a $30,000 fee. He also coughed up over $6.4 million and rights to the 1937 painting “Carnaval à Nice” by Raoul Dufy as part of a plea deal.

Nahmad got out of jail on November December 8, 2014, five months early. From there he went to a halfway house where he remained until May March 2015. But he still had the three years’ probation. It ends on May 14th. But I’m told there may be a last minute twist in the story before Nahmad can put all this behind him. There’s some static about what Nahmad may have been up to during the probation.

Nahmad is the latest DiCaprio pal to serve time or be involved in a financial scandal. The first was his late manager Dana Giacchetto who ran an infamous Ponzi scheme with Hollywood clients and spent 14 months in prison. Giacchetto committed suicide a couple of years ago. DiCaprio is also still caught up in the Malaysian public fund scandal known as 1MBD in which that government’s money was tied up in the financing of “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Nahmad has long been part of what used to be called DiCaprio’s “Pussy Posse” and more recently goes by the name “The Wolf Pack.” This is a real thing, complete with a club medallion worn around the neck on a chain by members, divided into East Coast and West Coast, according to sources. The medallion has a gold W with a drop of blood, for wolf’s blood. (Yes, this is real.) It can be seen in some photos of members including DiCaprio and friends like actor Lukas Haas.

One member of the Wolf Pack is–and that may now be past tense–magician David Blaine. Blaine was the subject of a 2017 Daily Beast story in which he was accused of rape by model Natasha Prince just two weeks after the Harvey Weinstein story broke in the New York Times and New Yorker.

It’s unclear right now what may impede Nahmad’s exiting his probation, if anything. So we’ll stay tuned…


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News