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Wine News

Counterfeiting kit found at Rudy Kurniawan's house

Details of the charges against wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan are emerging at the trial that is taking place currently in New York this week. Kurniawan is said to have had spiralling debts of millions of dollars when he attempted to sell counterfeit wine through auction house Acker Merrall. He applied for a further $3m loan from Fine Art Capital in 2007 but in 2008 Fine Art Capital ordered Kurniawan to sell off his art collection, which included work by Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst, to clear the loan which was finally paid off in 2009.

The court heard how he lied about his residency in the States and when the FBI raided his property there was evidence of wine counterfeiting. They found wine labels floating in the sink, a drying area and a cork extractor. There were also new labels for Chateau Petrus, Roumier, Cheval Blanc and Richebourg.

Acker Merrall’s director of auction operations confirmed that in the wake of the “Cellar II” auction in 2006, some buyers had returned lots or parts of lots to the auction house due to doubts over their authenticity. The trial continues.