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Monday, 16 January 2012

Luxembourg fine wine dealer scammed by fake football agent

2004 and 2005 Latour among the wines stolen

Just before Christmas Gildas Royer, who runs In Vino Gildas, a fine wine shop in the centre of the city of Luxembourg, found that he had been scammed out of a parcel of wine worth 26,100€. Some of this stolen wine has subsequently been offered to the UK fine wine trade.

In November Royer was approached by someone claiming to be the agent for Manchester City’s midfielder Yaya Touré. The agent told Royer that he was organizing a party for two famous footballers. He needed some very specific top Bordeaux. Royer agreed to sell the wines, which included a bottle of 1976 Pétrus and two vintages – 2006 and 2007 – of Ausone.

Vines near the entrance to Château Ausone's cellars, Saint-Emilion
2006 and 2007 Ausone stolen

The agent provided bank details. Royer asked for payment before sending the wines and in due course received proofs of payment from Barclays Bank. These turned out to be forgeries.

As instructed, Royer then sent the 30 bottles to an address in Hither Green, South London by courier. The Hither Green address is a hairdresser with accommodation above. Unfortunately Royer never received payment and the football agent has disappeared.

In December a wine merchant in Buckinghamshire bought six bottles of 2007 Ausone from a private individual who brought up the six bottles on a train from London. “He was a hip black guy – between 20 and 30,” said a spokesman for the company. “He said he had a number of footballer friends. The Ausone belonged to a footballer who didn’t want the wine but wanted the money instead.”

“The case still had a 'In Vino Gildas’ label on it,” explained the spokesman. “So as we are always on the look out for new stock we contacted Royer, who told us what had happened. We were only offered the 2007 Ausone. If there had been more we would have been suspicious.”

The wines sent to Hither Green:

10 x 2006 Ausone
6 x 2007 Ausone
3 x 2005 Latour
2 x 2008 Lafite-Rothschild
7 x 2004 Latour
1 x 2005 Margaux
1 x 1976 Pétrus

Further details:

- 1 flat OWC with 6 bt CHÂTEAU AUSONE 2006 (new condition)
- 4 bt of CHÂTEAU AUSONE 2006 (new condition)
- 1 flat OWC with 6 bt CHÂTEAU AUSONE 2007 (new condition)
- 1 12 bt OWC of CHÂTEAU LATOUR 2004 with inside:
- 7 bt CHÂTEAU LATOUR 2004 (new condition)
- 3 bt CHÂTEAU LATOUR 2005 (new condition)
- 1 bt CHÂTEAU MARGAUX 2005 (new condition)
- 1 PETRUS 1976 (the label falls apart)
- 2 individual wooden-case of CHÂTEAU LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD 2008

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