New Bucks Owner Has Gambling Issues
Before he became an owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, billionaire Marc Lasry wanted very much to be something else: Barack Obama's Ambassador to France.
The new Bucks owners is one of the largest bundlers of campaign cash for Obama’s campaign, raising more than $856,000 for Obama. But Lasry is also a deep-dyed Clintonista, so close to the former president and his wife that media reports suggested that Bill Clinton himself had tapped him for the Paris embassy.
On October 17, 2012, Lasry and his wife hosted a fund raiser at their home for Obama’s campaign. Price of admission: $15,000 a couple. Featured guest: Bill Clinton.
Last year, the former president "let slip" word that Lasry would get the job.
During one of the events, Clinton declared that Lasry "got some good news" earlier Wednesday, adding that he was told he is the new ambassador to France. The move had been expected, according to multiple sources, and Clinton himself had asked the president to consider it, according to a source.New Bucks Owner
That all went south sometime after an April 2013 FBI bust of an illegal poker ring in New York raised questions about Lasry’s gambling.
Here’s the way the New York Post reported it:
The Manhattan billionaire President Obama wanted to appoint ambassador to France turned down the prestigious position over ties to an alleged Russian mob-run poker ring that was laundered through a Carlyle hotel art gallery, sources told The Post.
Marc Lasry, who runs the $12 billion investment firm Avenue Capital in Midtown, withdrew on Tuesday because of his close friendship with Illya Trincher, 27, who was busted last week with 30 others, including Trincher’s pro-poker-playing father, Vadim, and brother Eugene.
The feds last week accused Illya Trincher of running the New York arm of the $100 million betting and money-laundering racket with world-renowned Manhattan art dealer Hillel "Helly"Nahmad.
"Marc Lasry is a big-time gambler,in golf and poker," a source told The Post. "He’s a 'master of the universe’type, and he was friends with the kid Trincher."
Lasry, 53, turned down the post only days after the White House asked the FBI to probe whether he was tied to anyone involved in the criminal enterprise, sources said.
His name surfaced in FBI tapes probing the matter as a person who likes to play in exclusive high-stakes poker games, sources said.
News reports suggested that Lasry enjoyed playing in games where he and others could bet as much as $2 million. New York Magazine reported:
The Carlyle bust is its own can of worms. Allegedly run out of the upscale Helly Nahmad Gallery, the game"catered primarily to multimillionaire and billionaire clients" to the tune of $100 million in laundered gambling earnings, according to the FBI.In addition to the leader of a Russian organized-crime gang, the indictment named Molly Bloom, the "poker princess" famous for setting up games for Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck.
Lasry was one of the highest of the high rollers.
Lasry has been known to play in informal games with other wealthy investors, including Boaz Weinstein, founder of hedge fund Saba Capital Management, and David Bonderman, head of private-equity giant TPG Capital.
"I have a rule. Never play cards with Marc for money," Bonderman told the trade publication Institutional Investor in 2007.
Within days of the bust, Lasry withdrew his name from consideration.
So, instead of Paris, he got a basketball team.