Besides showering Democratic politicians with hundreds of thousands dollars — probably several million in all — what was Hassan Nemazee spending all that money on?
Unlike Bernie Madoff or ‘Sir’ Allen Stanford, Nemazee’s alleged Ponzi scheme did not involve bilking individual investors. The Feds put the fraud at $292 million since 1998. Even taking into account that some of the money was allegedly borrowed to pay off other loans, a person would have to spend hard and often, on more than just political donations, to burn through that kind of cash.
And, the indictment suggests, Nemazee did just that.
Start with his two-unit Upper East Side apartment in a 19-story Georgian-style building described by a real estate firm as “one of Park Avenue’s most prestigious white-glove cooperatives … built by the legendary Rosario Candela in 1930.” That’s where Nemazee is currently under house arrest; a woman answering the phone there today said he was not available.
In September 2008, Nemazee used the apartment for a $28,500-per-couple Obama fundraiser featuring special guest Hillary Clinton.
The co-op right next door happens to be on sale, and the New York blog Cityfile posts pictures of the place, yours for $6.6M. Nemazee’s is worth $20 million. He also owns an $8 million “estate” in Westchester. And two properties on Warren St. in downtown Manhattan. And an apartment on Rome’s Via Della Scrofa, which, surprise, looks like a nice street.
Nemazee was, it turns out, on his way to Rome when FBI agents confronted him at the airport in Newark as the case was unfolding last month.
He also used the money, the indictment alleges, on a 2008 blue Maserati Quattroporte (similar model pictured).
As well as a 2007 Cessna Model 680, like this one:
Described in the press alternately as an “investor,” a “businessman,” and a “financier,” Nemazee is the chairman and CEO of an eponymous investment firm. He partnered with AIG on a life insurance venture in Iran in the 1970s, and developed real estate in Houston in the 80s, according to his official bio. Nemazee Capital was founded in 1987.
The firm said in July it had $3 billion under management, so it’s possible Nemazee’s wealth was based in legitimate as well as allegedly illegitimate dealings.