Rudy Kurniawan arrested over million dollar wine fraud
35 year old American wine collector and millionaire Rudy Kurniawan has been arrested in Los Angeles accused of trying to sell US$1.3m worth of fake wine. He is also charged with fraudulantly obtaining millions of dollars worth of loans. His clientèle included the billionaire businessman and collector William I Koch, who is now suing the dealer for allegedly selling him counterfeit wine.
In 2008 Kurniawan tried to sell 84 bottles of Domaine Ponsot Burgundy. One bottle was labelled as a 1929 vintage but the estate didn't actually begin bottling until 1934. Prosecutors said a search of Mr Kurniawan's home had turned up materials which they claim were used in the counterfeiting of wine bottles.
Earlier this year when it was alleged that dozens of lots of suspect Burgundy from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, withdrawn from a London auction run by California auction house Spectrum and London merchant Vanquish, had been consigned by Kurniawan. The auction house categorically denied the bottles were from Kurniawan.
This week Mr Kurniawan was refused bail after prosecutors were concerned he might attempt to flee to his home country of Indonesia.