US Prosecutors Seek Additional Forfeiture in Case Against Art Dealer –

Federal prosecutors have filed documents seeking the forfeiture of additional artworks, more than 30 diamonds, and $2 million in the ongoing case against art collector Nazem Said Ahmad.

US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Pace and US Attorney Claire S. Kedeshian filed a three-page Bill of Particulars for the forfeiture of a JP Morgan Chase bank account with a balance of more than $2 million, two artworks by Dan McCarthy, three paintings and two sculptures by Alex Brewer (also known as Hense), four sculptures by Mark Whalen, a sculpture by Joankim Ojanen, a 2.4-carat “green diamond cushion modified brilliant cut ring,” and 34 other diamonds.

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The items, which would only be subject to forfeiture if Said Ahmad were convicted, were all owned by companies mentioned in the nine-count indictment unsealed earlier this year in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The document also includes various allegations against Said Ahmad, accusing him of conspiring to defraud the United States and other governments, evading customs laws, and money laundering for the benefit of Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah.

Ahmad has been sanctioned by the US government since 2019 for his role as a major financial donor to Hezbollah through money laundering activities, as well as for personally providing funds to the organization’s secretary-general. He was barred from conducting business—such as collecting and selling “high-value art,” real estate, and diamonds—with US entities and persons.

The indictment further alleged that Ahmad and his associates obtained artwork worth more than $1.2 million from the US after he was sanctioned in 2019, but noted that amount did not account for the tax evasion from foreign governments. By comparison, the indictment said the total weight and value of the diamonds, which had allegedly passed through Ahmad’s businesses after the sanctions had been imposed in 2019, were graded at approximately 1,546 carats and were worth more than $91 million.

Prior to the Bill of Particulars filing on August 16, the US government had already already sought the forfeiture of more than 450 diamonds and more than 100 pieces of artwork.

The indictment did not identify the names of artists and galleries involved, only referring to them by sales amounts and location, such as “Chicago Art Gallery-1.” However, three of the works in the indictment had been posted to Ahmad’s Instagram account, where he frequently published images of artists, galleries, and exhibitions to his 172,000 followers. Ahmad previously identified those paintings as works by Nicasio Fernandez and Luke Agada. The Instagram account is no longer online.

Using Google reverse image search on artworks attached to the indictment, several of the works appear to be artists David Salle, Terron Cooper Sorrells, Stickmonger, and UFO907; per the indictment, these pieces were paid for or acquired through other names, entities, or partial payments to obscure they were connected to Ahmad.

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