After years of litigation, multiple failed cases and endless court appearances, billionaire William Koch has claimed the first scalp in his war on what he calls ‘wine fakers’.
The 72-year-old wine collector (above) has won his lawsuit against Eric Greenberg, with a federal jury in Manhattan finding against the defendant, who was ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
In 2007 Koch brought the lawsuit accusing Greenberg of knowingly selling him dubious bottles when auctioneer Zachys sold 17,000 bottles from Greenberg’s collection. Koch claims that 24 of the US$3.7m of rare bottles he bought at that sale are dubious or fake.
On Wednesday last week the jury in the Manhattan court took two hours to decide against Greenberg, ordering him to pay US$379,000 in damages, comprising the amount Koch paid for the wine at a 2005 auction and US$1,000 in compensatory damages for each bottle.
‘I absolutely can’t stand to be cheated,’ Bloomberg reported Koch, 72, as saying after court. ‘Now we got one faker so we’re marching down our hit list of fakers. This is just a start.’
Greenberg made no statement.
A poignant moment came at the end of the trial, Outlaw said. Rudy Kurniawan, accused on two counts of fraud and schemes to sell counterfeit wines, was appearing in a neighbouring Manhattan court just as Koch vs Greenberg came to an end.
Koch, who is also suing Kurniawan, was one of several witnesses and spectators who hurried across the road to see the Indonesian national, who has pleaded not guilty, appear in court in prison garb to have his trial date set.
Written by Adam Lechmere