This story was published more than 5 years ago.
Afghani poker pro Shekhan Farnood died in prison this week, bringing to an end a fascinating life that saw him move from bracelet winner to head of Kabul Bank to prisoner.
Farnood had a poker career that began in 2002 and saw him take home $627,647 in winnings. His pinnacle moment came in 2008 when he bested Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer and Jeff Lisandro to win a WSOPE bracelet with a $140,039 prize. Outside of his poker exploits, Farnood ran the Kabul Bank, served as Chairman of Pamir Airways, and also ran a business out of Russia that completed Sharia compliant transactions.
Farnood was arrested in 2011 for running a Ponzi scheme that stole $800 million that was designated to rebuild Afghanistan. He reportedly stole the money to fund lavish trips and purchase land in other countries. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to repay the money he stole. During his sentence, he was given extended time when it was discovered the bank was a sham.
The disgraced player died of heart disease. HIs exact age was unknown, but he's believed to have been 55 or 57.