It had seemed like a done deal — billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry would be ambassador to France. Even Bill Clinton was liberal with the information, confirming the news for Politico.
But earlier this week Lasry was forced to tell his investors that he would not be heading overseas. He gave no reason, but the The New York Post’s Kaja Whitehouse and Jennifer Gould Keil report that he had to give up the position of his ties to a Russian Mafia gambling ring busted last week
Earlier this month, the FBI charged more than 30 people in an illegal gambling, money laundering, and extortion scheme tied to Russian organised crime, according to a federal indictment. Those named ran the gamut from a Russian national who was accused of fixing the Salt Lake City Olympics to the NYC-based heir to an art dealing empire, and their alleged gambling and extortion ring spanned from L.A., to NYC, to Moscow.
Authorities allege that the organisation hosted high-stakes poker games frequented by Wall Streeters, pro-athletes and Hollywood stars. No names of financiers were mentioned in the indictment.
However, according to the Post, Lasry had a “close friendship” with Illya Trincher, 27, who was named in the indictment.
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.
Because ambassadorships require Senate approval — normally a pro-forma step — Lasry faced the prospect of being grilled about the ring.
To be clear, Lasry hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.
He didn’t comment for the Post’s piece.