French police have arrested two men and a woman suspected of cheating Bordeaux chateaux out of thousands of euros of wine by using false cheques.
The suspects have not been named, but police in Bordeaux said the woman was aged 43 and two men aged 27 and 47.
The trio were suspected of posing as clients looking to buy wines for weddings. It is estimated various chateaux and co-operative cellars across Bordeaux have been given fraudulent cheques for an estimated 68,000 euros since February this year.
Police moved in to arrest the suspects last week, when they were believed to be attempting the same con at several Graves estates, including Chateau de L’Hospitalet in Portets. The chateau owners had already been warned of the potential scam and alerted local Podensac police, who made the arrests the following day at a neighbouring estate.
The trio was first held for 48 hours, and the case has now been passed to a magistrate in Langon, who is trying to establish how many estates have fallen victim to the crime.
Those who have already gone public include Chateau de Chantegrive and the Maison des Graves, which refused to accept the cheque, and the cooperative cellar in Langoiran, where the staff described the three as ‘very natural, real pros’.
Other victims are rumoured to include a Medoc classified estate that lost around 10,000 euros of wine back in March.
It is understood that the trio had previously been questioned by police but released. The Podensac police service confirmed to Decanter.com that the arrests had been made but that they could not comment on an ongoing enquiry.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux