Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 9 March 2012

Rudy Kurniawan’s arrest – links to the story and problem of counterfeiting

Rudy Kurniawan’s arrest yesterday by the FBI in Los Angeles on charges of fraud and counterfeiting looks very likely to be the wine scam story of 2012 at the very least if he is found guilty. It also assumes that there will be no other high-profile counterfeiting arrests in the near future.

Kurniawan’s arrest certainly further shines the spotlight on the problem of fine wine fakes, which has been receiving growing attention recently. To date dubious wine investment companies appear not to have dabbled in fakes for understandable reasons. It is much easier to rip off customers by overcharging them or to take the Bordeaux Wine Trading Company/International Wine Commodities approach and not buy any wine and just trouser clients’ money. High level counterfeiting is likely to require more work and expertise.

Here are some links for anyone wanting to catch up on Rudy Kurniawan and on those who helped expose him:

Mike Steinberger’s Wine Diarist that has a copy of the complaint filed by the Federal Prosecutors in New York. It makes pretty amazing reading. Allegedly Kurniawan has been an illegal immigrant in the US since 2003 when he was ordered to leave the country.
Jancis Robinson MW has long followed this story as well as highlighting the problem of fakes in the fine wine sector. See here and here.

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