Spectrum Wine Auctions has threatened alleged wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan with further legal action over claims that he tried to sell fake bottles at the company’s February auction in London.
Suspect DRC ‘consigned by Kurniawan through nominee’?
Kurniawan, 35, was arrested a week ago by the FBI on charges that he tried to sell counterfeit wine worth – if genuine – US$1.3m.
The charges mainly centre on a 2008 Acker Merrall and Condit sale, when Kurniawan allegedly consigned dozens of bottles from Burgundy’s Domaine Ponsot that were from vintages the Domaine could not have made.
Greg Roberts, president and CEO of Spectrum Group International (SGI), the parent company of Spectrum Wine Auctions, said the company had reviewed the press reports and criminal complaint filed against Kurniawan.
‘Based on that review, we understand that one of the allegations made is that Mr Kurniawan unlawfully and secretly attempted to sell counterfeit wine at our London auction, which took place in early February, through a nominee,’ Roberts added.
At the time, Spectrum took the unusual step of categorically denying that Kurniawan had consigned any of the wines that fell under suspicion at the sale.
Roberts said ‘credible concerns’ had been raised about the wines, leading to their withdrawal so that Spectrum could ‘conduct further due diligence and research certain label discrepancies’. The withdrawn wines – mostly from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti – had many discrepancies. On one (pictured) the address of the shipper Percy Fox was mis-spelled.
‘There has been no allegation of wrongdoing on the part of Spectrum Wine,’ Roberts said.
‘We have cooperated fully with all requests for information from governmental authorities and will continue to do so … We not only took the precaution of removing the lots from the London sale, but have also put a hold on accepting any further consignments from the nominee who is alleged to have acted on behalf of Mr Kurniawan at the London sale.’
None of the wines in Spectrum’s upcoming Hong Kong sale, scheduled for 23-24 March, had been consigned by Kurniawan or his nominee, Roberts added.
‘Further, if the allegations in the complaint prove to be true, we intend to pursue all our remedies against the nominee for breach of contract and misrepresentation.’
Written by Richard Woodard