On or shortly before April 16, the FBI busts two illegal gambling rings operating in unit 63A of Trump Tower, which agents secretly wiretapped two years ago. Almost three dozen members and associates of Russia-based transnational crime syndicates are indicted on April 17.
The rings are believed to be ran by Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov a.k.a. Taiwanchik a.k.a. Tochtachunov, a major transnational crime figure who has been associated with Semion Mogilevich for decades. He’s known as a vor v zakonye, a “thief-in-law.” Among fellow criminals, they are considered priests.
The People’s Courts, which existed in towns and communities throughout [Russia], were largely administered by a special breed of colorful lawbreaker called vor v zakonye — or “thieves-in-law” — a fraternal order of elite criminals that dates back to the time of the czars… The vor brotherhood grew in strength to the point that they began to play an unusual role in the nation’s history. They taught Lenin’s gangs to rob banks to fund the communist revolution. Later, enemies of the new State used them to sow dissension, fear, and chaos… Even today, this nearly mythic criminal cult is one of the most dynamic forces in the Russian underworld.Robert I. Friedman, Red Mafiya
The U.S. government has previously identified Tokhtakhounov in drug distribution, illegal arms sales, and trafficking in stolen vehicles. Officials also believe he is responsible for fixing beauty pageants, and he was indicted in 2002 for bribing Olympic figure skating judges.
Tokhtakhounov fled the country to avoid prosecution after the 2002 indictment. He’s lived in Russia ever since and makes an appearance later this year as a VIP guest at Donald Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. His gambling / sports betting rings operate in New York, Los Angeles, Russia, and Ukraine.
American authorities say in the recent case that Mr. Tokhtakhounov served as a ringleader along with two others, Vadim Trincher and Anatoly Golubchik, of one of two overlapping illegal gambling operations. One operation, prosecutors say, was led in part by the scion of a New York art dealing family, Hillel Nahmad, which hosted poker games for celebrities and financial titans in New York and Los Angeles.
In the other operation, Mr. Tokhtakhounov is accused of funneling Russian oligarchs’ losses to shell companies in Cyprus, disguised as phony loans. The scheme, prosecutors say, laundered more than $50 million.The New York Times
Vadim Trincher, a Russian businessman and professional poker player, owns the $5 million condo on the 63rd floor of Trump Tower. Nahmad owns the entire 51st floor of the building, which is where he hosted his own high-stakes poker games.
Tokhtakhounov claims to be a real estate investor and an organizer of fashion shows and Russian pop concerts, but not a criminal.
Other criminals included in the indictment, listed here in case their names come up again later: Vadim Trincher a.k.a. Dima, Anatoly Golubchik a.k.a. Tony, Michael Sall, Stan Greenberg a.k.a. Slava, Illya Trincher, Hillel Nahmad a.k.a. Helly, John Hanson, Noah Siegel a.k.a. The Oracle, Jonathan Hirsch, Arthur Azen, Donald McCalmont, Dmitry Druzhinsky a.k.a. Dima a.k.a. Blondie, Alexander Zaverukha a.k.a. Sasha, Alexander Katchaloff a.k.a. Murushka, Anatoly Shteyngrob a.k.a. Tony, Ilya Rozenfeld, Peter Skyllas, Ronald Uy, Nicholas Hirsch, Bryan Zuriff, Moshe Oratz, Kirill Rapoport, David Aaron, Justin Smith, Abraham Mosseri, William Edler, Peter Feldman, Eugene Trincher, Edwin Ting a.k.a. Eddie, Molly Bloom, William Barbalat, Yugeshwar Rajkumar a.k.a. Mateo Hermatte, and Joseph Mancuso a.k.a. Joe the Hammer.
New York Daily News (Archived)
The Washington Post (Archived)
Robert I. Friedman, Red Mafiya, p.9-10