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2 Enter Guilty Pleas In Case With Apparent Ties To Russian Mafia

William Barbalat And Kirill Rapoport Each Face Up To 5 Years In Prison
Poker (credit: Clip Art)

Poker (credit: Clip Art)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two defendants entered guilty pleas on Friday for participating in gambling rings connected to organized crime.

The case combined illegal high stakes poker, the Russian mafia, Hollywood celebrities, athletes, and Wall Street tycoons, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported from a federal courthouse in Manhattan.

Clients allegedly bet tens of thousands of dollars in a poker game at the Trump Tower that was reportedly run out of a $5 million condo owned by pro poker player Vadim Trincher, Cornell reported.

Art gallery owner and international playboy Helly Nahmad was named as the alleged head of the racketeering enterprise.

Two of the 34 defendants pleaded guilty in the case. William Barbalat and Kirill Rapoport had lesser roles in the ring and entered guilty pleas in hopes of getting easier prison sentences, Cornell reported.

“For three years, William Barbalat and Kirill Rapoport oversaw illegal gambling enterprises in the Southern District of New York. With their pleas, we move closer to holding to account all those who participated in this wide-ranging network of criminal conduct linked to organized crime,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Barbalat and Rapoport face up to five years in prison with three years of supervised released, prosecutors said.

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