The godfather of a notorious crime family faces a lengthy jail sentence after he admitted a five-year money-laundering conspiracy.
For more than two decades Terry Adams, once described as a cross between Liberace and Peter Stringfellow, was the head of a north London criminal clan.
With his brothers Tommy and Patsy, he led the so called A-team, which at one point ran a West End club, a Smithfield restaurant and a Hatton Garden jewellers.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal criminal property - money laundering - one of nine charges against him and the judge, Timothy Pontius, ordered the rest of the charges to remain on the file.
His wife Ruth, a co-defendant, was cleared.
Adams, who wore a black designer suit and polo neck jumper, asked to be allowed out on bail to spend time with his wife.
But the judge said: "The extent and seriousness of the criminal activity represented by the defendant's plea of guilty ... mean that a prison sentence of considerable length is wholly inevitable and the risks of granting bail far too great."
Adams, of Mill Hill, north-west London, was once thought to be untouchable. But he was charged after a lengthy police investigation, which involved months of surveillance by an undercover team.
Fears that the jury might be intimidated during the London trial prompted the installation of 2-metre screens in the public gallery.
Adams was said to have spent years cleaning up money from his activities with the help of a diamond merchant, Saul Soloman Nahome, who was shot dead in a contract killing in 1998. Nahome, the family's financial adviser, was named in the indictment alongside Adams. Nahome was said to have hidden £25m in property deals and offshore accounts.
Judge Pontius asked Adams yesterday if he was sure of his decision to admit the charge. "Yes, sir," he replied.
Charles Salmon QC, defending Adams, told the court he had pleaded guilty to an amount of £750,000 - which was liable for confiscation.
He pleaded, Mr Salmon said, on the basis that no crime had been committed apart from the use of the funds for a substantial amount of time and that the money had not come from drugs.
Adams has featured in several police investigations. In a high-profile Old Bailey trial seven years ago Christopher McCormack was cleared of causing grievous bodily harm to a Mayfair-based businessman, David McKenzie. Mr McKenzie described the power and presence of Adams when he was summoned to his mansion.
"Everyone stood up when he walked in," he told the jury. "He looked like a star. He was a cross between Liberace and Peter Stringfellow. He was immaculately dressed in a long black coat and white frilly shirt. He was totally in command."
Adams and his siblings are from an Irish Catholic family who were brought up in the Barnsbury area of Islington. Over the years their business developed from protection rackets against market stallholders to armed robbery for Terry's brothers and into the drugs trade in the 80s.
Outside court yesterday investigating officer David Cook, of the serious and organised crime agency, said: "No one is untouchable. No one is beyond the law or too hard for us to take on."
A third defendant, Joanna Barnes, 38, admitted one count of forgery involving a £15,000 loan agreement.
Both Adams and Barnes will be sentenced on March 9.