RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8501 Post by John Morris » March 11th, 2020, 12:32 pm

Don Cornwell wrote:
March 11th, 2020, 9:26 am
If you look at the photos that the FBI released, it would be absolutely impossible for Rudy's mother to have lived in that house and not know that counterfeit wines were being produced by her son in massive quantities.
I think you might be underestimating the capacity of moms to be clueless about what their children are up to right under their noses. I can easily imagine a foreign-born mom like his having no idea what all these bottles and funnels and whatnot were all about and accepting whatever explanation he offered.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8502 Post by Al Osterheld » March 11th, 2020, 8:45 pm

As I'm imagine most of us recognize, what she could have or should have known, and what would likely lead to a conviction are somewhat different standards.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8503 Post by Mark Golodetz » March 12th, 2020, 6:16 am

I remember at least a couple of years, and probably a lot more before the Ponsot auction talking about how obviously faked some of the “Leroy” capsules coming from Rudy were. I also remember a vendor describing a bottle as “post Hardy pre Rudy.” It was an open secret something was not right there.

Nobody in the fine wine business was surprised either by the Ponsot Acker auction, or the subsequent raid by the FBI.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8504 Post by Don Cornwell » March 12th, 2020, 1:28 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 6:16 am
I remember at least a couple of years, and probably a lot more before the Ponsot auction talking about how obviously faked some of the “Leroy” capsules coming from Rudy were. I also remember a vendor describing a bottle as “post Hardy pre Rudy.” It was an open secret something was not right there.

Nobody in the fine wine business was surprised either by the Ponsot Acker auction, or the subsequent raid by the FBI.
Mark:

The people in the wine auction industry and the sellers of rare wine clearly knew that there was a problem by the spring of 2007 at the latest.

The "authentication tasting" organized by Doug Barzelay and Don Stott that was described in Sour Grapes and the French television program was held on January 14, 2007. Something north of $8 million worth of wine from the $36 million sold in Cellar I and Cellar II was returned to Acker between late 2006 and mid-April 2007. This became the basis of the eventual $10 million consent judgment obtained by Acker against Rudy. An article about the authentication tasting and the fact that there were multiple fakes from the Cellar I and Cellar II sale appeared in the New York Times on March 14, 2007.

On April 27, 2007, Christie’s held a wine auction in Los Angeles to which both Rudy Kurniawan and Antonio Castanos consigned Rudy’s wines. After the catalog was published, which featured a photograph of six magnums of 1982 Chateau Le Pin from Rudy on the cover (Lot 6), the owners of Chateau Le Pin contacted Christie’s to insist that the 1982 Le Pin be withdrawn from the auction because it was clearly counterfeit. Surprisingly, this didn't get coverage in the general wine press, but I heard about it at the time, even though I had not received the catalog or participated in any way in that auction, and I know for a fact that the counterfeit magnums of Le Pin were discussed among the people in the wine auction trade.

In May of 2007 David Molyneux-Berry, formerly head of the Wine Department at Sotheby's, gave a presentation at the Taste 3 Conference in Napa. His presentation dealt mainly with the counterfeits of Hardy Rodenstock and his work on the lawsuit filed by Bill Koch. At the end of the presentation he suggested that there was other ongoing counterfeiting involving at least one importer, possibly an auction house and others. The explanation focused on the sale of multiple magnums of 1947 Chateau Lafleur in a single year when only 3 magnums had been produced by the Chateau. When the video of his presentation came out in August of 2007 it spawned a thread on Mark Squires Bulletin Board on the e-Robert Parker website. On August 15, 2007, I pointed out publicly for the first time that the source of the allegedly counterfeit magnums of 1947 Chateau Lafleur was Rudy Kurniawan via the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions at Acker Merrall. I took a lot of heat for that and there were plenty of people who leaped to Rudy's defense, including John Kapon, some of the members of the 12 Angry Men, Paul Wasserman and others.

What I remain absolutely amazed at, and find completely immoral and unforgivable conduct, is that Christie's knowingly continued to accept wines directly from Rudy Kurniawan for auction in 2009-2010 (and possibly 2011) and simultaneously refused to disclose the fact that the wines in question were from Rudy Kurniawan. Christie's also willingly accepted millions of dollars worth of Rudy's wines for auction through Antonio Castanos.
Last edited by Don Cornwell on March 12th, 2020, 4:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8505 Post by John Danza » March 12th, 2020, 2:19 pm

Don Cornwell wrote:
March 9th, 2020, 11:06 am
There has been prior discussion in the thread about the genesis of the sale of the fake Ponsot wines in April 2008. As you may recall, the Kurniawan wines (from Ponsot, Roumier and Rousseau) were offered in the middle of an auction catalog of Rob Rosania wines. The Roumier and Rousseau wines offered by Kurniawan in the April 2008 auction were also counterfeit -- but because there were no glaring errors in those wines, the sale of those wines went forward. The reason for the April 2008 sale of wines by Rudy was that Rudy owed Acker Merrall nearly $10 million at that point owing to refunds that Acker had to make due returns of suspected counterfeits from the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions. The April 2008 auction, and another apparently to follow, were supposed to get Acker paid back.
Don, please correct me if I'm wrong, and I probably am since it's been a while, but wasn't the April 2008 auction being done by Acker? If that's true, I would think that's evidence enough that Acker/Kapon were directly involved in the scam, since they would be selling knowlingly fake wine to repay a debt incurred from previously sold fake wine.

It continues to amaze me that John Kapon never ended up with an orange jumpsuit.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8506 Post by Don Cornwell » March 12th, 2020, 3:08 pm

John Danza wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 2:19 pm
Don Cornwell wrote:
March 9th, 2020, 11:06 am
There has been prior discussion in the thread about the genesis of the sale of the fake Ponsot wines in April 2008. As you may recall, the Kurniawan wines (from Ponsot, Roumier and Rousseau) were offered in the middle of an auction catalog of Rob Rosania wines. The Roumier and Rousseau wines offered by Kurniawan in the April 2008 auction were also counterfeit -- but because there were no glaring errors in those wines, the sale of those wines went forward. The reason for the April 2008 sale of wines by Rudy was that Rudy owed Acker Merrall nearly $10 million at that point owing to refunds that Acker had to make due returns of suspected counterfeits from the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions. The April 2008 auction, and another apparently to follow, were supposed to get Acker paid back.
Don, please correct me if I'm wrong, and I probably am since it's been a while, but wasn't the April 2008 auction being done by Acker? If that's true, I would think that's evidence enough that Acker/Kapon were directly involved in the scam, since they would be selling knowlingly fake wine to repay a debt incurred from previously sold fake wine.

It continues to amaze me that John Kapon never ended up with an orange jumpsuit.
John

Yes, the infamous auction of Ponsot wines was conducted at Acker on April 25, 2008. Many of us were amazed that the government did not indict John Kapon and Acker Merrall. I have discussed that issue with Jason Hernandez, the former AUSA who prosecuted Rudy. Jason explained that he felt that it would be very difficult to obtain a conviction as to Mr. Kapon and Acker given the requirements of the criminal standard of proof for crimes like aiding and abetting or conspiracy.

Here is an interesting piece of factual puzzle that happened two months after the April 2008 auction that nobody ever heard about:

In June 2008 Rudy sent 326 750ml bottles and 48 magnums of purported DRC and Henri Jayer wines to Hart Davis Hart in Chicago as a proposed auction consignment. If authentic, HDH estimated the value of the wines at approximately $2,613,860. After inspecting the wines, HDH determined that all or nearly all of them were fake. Since they were aware of Rudy's history, including the Ponsot wines at the April 2008 Acker Merrall auction, HDH notified the Chicago office of the FBI. But the Chicago office of the FBI elected not to pursue the matter. So HDH reluctantly returned the bottles to Rudy. Geoff Troy and I were completely unaware of this when we began providing information to Jim Wynne of the FBI's New York office in August of 2008. Apparently Mr. Wynne did not know about this until much later himself. I have more than once wondered what would have happened had the information about Rudy's attempted consignment of counterfeit wines to HDH had become public knowledge back in 2008.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8507 Post by John Morris » March 12th, 2020, 4:03 pm

Don Cornwell wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 3:08 pm
John Danza wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 2:19 pm
Don Cornwell wrote:
March 9th, 2020, 11:06 am
There has been prior discussion in the thread about the genesis of the sale of the fake Ponsot wines in April 2008. As you may recall, the Kurniawan wines (from Ponsot, Roumier and Rousseau) were offered in the middle of an auction catalog of Rob Rosania wines. The Roumier and Rousseau wines offered by Kurniawan in the April 2008 auction were also counterfeit -- but because there were no glaring errors in those wines, the sale of those wines went forward. The reason for the April 2008 sale of wines by Rudy was that Rudy owed Acker Merrall nearly $10 million at that point owing to refunds that Acker had to make due returns of suspected counterfeits from the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions. The April 2008 auction, and another apparently to follow, were supposed to get Acker paid back.
Don, please correct me if I'm wrong, and I probably am since it's been a while, but wasn't the April 2008 auction being done by Acker? If that's true, I would think that's evidence enough that Acker/Kapon were directly involved in the scam, since they would be selling knowlingly fake wine to repay a debt incurred from previously sold fake wine.

It continues to amaze me that John Kapon never ended up with an orange jumpsuit.
John

Yes, the infamous auction of Ponsot wines was conducted at Acker on April 25, 2008. Many of us were amazed that the government did not indict John Kapon and Acker Merrall. I have discussed that issue with Jason Hernandez, the former AUSA who prosecuted Rudy. Jason explained that he felt that it would be very difficult to obtain a conviction as to Mr. Kapon and Acker given the requirements of the criminal standard of proof for crimes like aiding and abetting or conspiracy.
Yes, it seemed like it would be easy to prove intent, given that by early 2008, Acker was out $8-$10 million for refunds on Rudy's wines -- money that Rudy hadn't repaid Acker. It's hard not to conclude that they knowingly kept selling his fakes in the hope of recouping some of those losses.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8508 Post by Jonathan Grunzweig » March 12th, 2020, 4:14 pm

Don Cornwell wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 1:28 pm
Mark Golodetz wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 6:16 am
I remember at least a couple of years, and probably a lot more before the Ponsot auction talking about how obviously faked some of the “Leroy” capsules coming from Rudy were. I also remember a vendor describing a bottle as “post Hardy pre Rudy.” It was an open secret something was not right there.

Nobody in the fine wine business was surprised either by the Ponsot Acker auction, or the subsequent raid by the FBI.
Mark:

On August 15, 2017, I pointed out publicly for the first time that the source of the allegedly counterfeit magnums of 1947 Chateau Lafleur was Rudy Kurniawan via the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions at Acker Merrall. I took a lot of heat for that and there were plenty of people who leaped to Rudy's defense, including John Kapon, some of the members of the 12 Angry Men, Paul Wasserman and others.
Don, I'm thinking that you meant 2007 here, no?

Kind regards,
Jonathan

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8509 Post by Don Cornwell » March 12th, 2020, 4:20 pm

Jonathan Grunzweig wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 4:14 pm
Don Cornwell wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 1:28 pm
On August 15, 2017, I pointed out publicly for the first time that the source of the allegedly counterfeit magnums of 1947 Chateau Lafleur was Rudy Kurniawan via the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions at Acker Merrall. I took a lot of heat for that and there were plenty of people who leaped to Rudy's defense, including John Kapon, some of the members of the 12 Angry Men, Paul Wasserman and others.
Don, I'm thinking that you meant 2007 here, no?

Kind regards,
Jonathan
Yes, you are correct. Thank you.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8510 Post by Don Cornwell » March 12th, 2020, 6:00 pm

John Morris wrote:
March 12th, 2020, 4:03 pm
Yes, it seemed like it would be easy to prove intent, given that by early 2008, Acker was out $8-$10 million for refunds on Rudy's wines -- money that Rudy hadn't repaid Acker. It's hard not to conclude that they knowingly kept selling his fakes in the hope of recouping some of those losses.
John:

In terms of prosecuting Mr. Kapon or Acker, the FBI and the US Attorney's office had believed that Rudy would offer to testify against John Kapon as part of a plea deal, but that never happened. In order to prosecute John Kapon without testimony from Rudy, in the context of the April 2008 Ponsot auction, that would require proof of fraudulent intent by Mr. Kapon at the specific item-by-item (or bottle by bottle) level versus the generic proof that Acker knew that Rudy had sold counterfeit wines through them in the past and likely was offering counterfeits again in order to help Acker recoup its losses.

As you may remember, I once wrote a fairly long post laying out the evidence known to me which I thought established the culpability of Mr. Kapon and Acker Merrall. At the time I wrote that, some of the worst conduct in question, which dated back to as early as October of 2004, was beyond any criminal statute of limitations.

Below is the relevant excerpt from my prior post that dealt with Mr. Kapon's conduct in connection with the April 25, 2008 auction of the counterfeit Ponsot, Roumier and Rousseau wines. It is clear that Mr. Kapon lied in several respects in the written catalog description, and there is ample circumstantial evidence that Kapon either knew or clearly should have known that the Ponsot Clos St. Denis and Chambertin wines from 1945 to 1971 were counterfeit. However, there is only one specific lot (1929 Ponsot Clos de la Roche) where there is clear evidence (to the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt) that John Kapon knew the bottles in catalog had to be counterfeit.
Misrepresentations in the April 25, 2008 (Ponsot) Auction Catalog

As another example of Mr. Kapon taking considerable liberties with the truth when it came to Rudy Kurniawan’s wines, consider the April 25, 2008 Acker auction catalog in which the counterfeit Ponsot wines were offered. In his introduction to the separate consignment from “THE Cellar,” John Kapon highly touted the Roumier and Rousseau wines, stating:

“Every single great old Roumier, Rousseau and Ponsot experience I have ever had comes from ‘THE’ Cellar. The Burghound Allen Meadows will tell you as well that he has been blessed with many of his greatest experiences of these artifacts courtesy of our friend. Authentification [sic] tastings were done after previous offerings with winemakers such as Christophe Roumier and some of Burgundy’s most discerning (and difficult) connoisseurs present. I had an incredible 1945 Roumier Bonnes-Mares recently with a previous buyer of said wine. I can safely say that when it comes to old Roumier, old Rousseau and old Ponsot, there is one place to go to: ‘THE’ Cellar.”
.
Mr. Kapon was referring to the same January 2007 “authentication” tasting of Roumier wines from the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions which both Doug Barzelay and Christophe Roumier testified about at the criminal trial. Mr. Barzelay and Mr. Roumier testified that a majority of the Roumier bottles from Cellar I and II tasted at the authentication tasting were counterfeit, including the 1923, 1929 and 1945 Roumier Bonnes Mares all of which incorrectly had Domaine Ancien Belorgey on the label. Mr. Kapon knew all about that tasting because the New York Times published an article about it on March 14, 2007 in which Mr. Kapon was interviewed and his photo was included. While Kapon’s language in the April 25, 2008 catalog introduction suggested that Christophe Roumier and the other attendees at the authentication tasting had confirmed the authenticity of all of the Roumier bottles, Mr. Kapon knew that was false. Moreover, he apparently knew that the bottle of 1945 Roumier Bonnes Mares tasted at the authentication tasting was determined to be counterfeit by Christophe Roumier and the others in attendance, but he failed to disclose that information in the introduction to the auction catalog. Instead he suggested, directly to the contrary, that the 1945 Roumier Bonnes Mares previously sold in the Cellar II auction was authentic.

In the same introduction in the April 25, 2008 catalog Mr. Kapon states that after tasting a series of memorable Roumier and Rousseau wines brought by the consignor [Rudy Kurniawan] to the 2008 La Paulée event (which was held February 26 through March 1, 2008 in San Francisco),
“I had to take another stab at prying away some of these jewels. We got to talking about Rob’s upcoming sale, and it took me about a month thereafter of begging and pleading (ie, can I please have some Roumier, Rousseau and Ponsot PLEASE! Please please please please), but finally he acquiesced.”
So, according to Mr. Kapon, the Kurniawan wines were only consigned to Acker on or about April 1, 2008. But according to the government’s initial Complaint (at paragraphs 4, 12(d) and 36(a), and paragraph 9 of both the Grand Jury Indictment and the Superseding Indictment, Rudy Kurniawan consigned the Ponsot wines to Acker in June of 2007 – ten months before the auction occurred and at which time Rudy Kurniawan was indebted to Acker Merrall in the amount in excess of $5.8 million. It sort of puts the April 25, 2008 sale in a different perspective doesn’t it? Indeed, on May 21, 2008 John Kapon and I had a telephone discussion about this sale in which he told me that the entire purpose of Rudy’s sale of the Ponsot, Roumier and Rousseau bottles was to pay down a portion of huge debt Rudy then had outstanding to Acker.

And what did Mr. Kapon find out during the ten months he had to conduct due diligence on these wines? Well, the first thing he had to discover was that there wasn’t a single bottle of Domaine Ponsot Clos St. Denis that had ever been sold at auction before. It must have been impossible to provide any meaningful auction estimates. Knowing that, isn’t it amazing that Mr. Kapon never contacted the Domaine at any point during the ten month period to find out whether there was any Clos St. Denis produced from 1945 to 1971 (the range of the wines offered by Mr. Kurniawan)?

We know that Mr. Kapon did discover, because his introduction to the Ponsot wines so states, that Laurent Ponsot’s grandfather Hippolyte Ponsot “was the first producer in Burgundy (1934) to estate bottle his wines.” Yet Lot 413, the first bottle of Ponsot offered in the April 2008 catalog, was 1929 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche.

What I find to be even more problematic is the description of the Ponsot wines which immediately precedes the Ponsot lots (413 to 434) in the catalog. Mr. Kapon appears to have taken most of this description from Clive Coates’ profile of Domaine Ponsot in his book “Côte D’Or” (which was published 1997) at pages 574-76. Much of the phraseology is identical to Mr. Kapon’s catalog introduction, or nearly so. Yet Mr. Kapon managed to miss or to ignore the last two sentences of Mr. Coates’ history of the domaine’s acquisition of its vineyards: “Another later lease, in 1982, was with the Mercier family, whose estate is called the Domaine de Chezeaux. Here the wines lay in Griottes Chambertin, Chambertin itself, Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes and Clos Saint-Denis.”

In my opinion, this is impossible to explain away.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8511 Post by J@redC » April 25th, 2020, 10:01 am

Wow. Watched Sour Grapes for the first time last night. Unbelievable. What ever happened to Kapon? Is he blacklisted from the wine community for ALLEGEDLY selling and profiting off Rudy’s fakes?
Last edited by J@redC on April 25th, 2020, 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8512 Post by Robert M yers » April 25th, 2020, 10:37 am

J@redC wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 10:01 am
Wow. Watched Sour Grapes for the first time last night. Unbelievable. What ever happened to Kapon? Is he blacklisted from the wine community for knowingly selling and profiting off Rudy’s fakes?
Ummm...still hip-hoppin’

https://www.ackerwines.com/john-kapon-bio

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8513 Post by J@redC » April 25th, 2020, 10:43 am

Robert M yers wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 10:37 am
J@redC wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 10:01 am
Wow. Watched Sour Grapes for the first time last night. Unbelievable. What ever happened to Kapon? Is he blacklisted from the wine community for knowingly selling and profiting off Rudy’s fakes?
Ummm...still hip-hoppin’

https://www.ackerwines.com/john-kapon-bio
So everyone in the wine community just gave him a pass, as if he was duped? No one believes he turned a blind eye for the profits? He’s back to running his auction house like nothing ever happened? And people feel comfortable buying from him? Yikes. This is all ALLEGEDLY, of course.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8514 Post by J@redC » April 25th, 2020, 11:35 am

Just read through most of this entire thread. Don, wow. Amazing work. Thank you!
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8515 Post by Jay $$ Winton » April 25th, 2020, 11:51 am

I was quite disappointed that the Washington Post's wine critic chose Kapon of all retailers to interview about covid's influence on his business. Wasn't he aware of Kapon's knowing involvement with Kurniawan?
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8516 Post by Victor Hong » April 25th, 2020, 12:16 pm

Jay $$ Winton wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 11:51 am
I was quite disappointed that the Washington Post's wine critic chose Kapon of all retailers to interview about covid's influence on his business. Wasn't he aware of Kapon's knowing involvement with Kurniawan?
They should have interviewed Allen Meadows.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8517 Post by Dav1d S@wyer » April 25th, 2020, 12:26 pm

J@redC wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 10:43 am
Robert M yers wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 10:37 am
J@redC wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 10:01 am
Wow. Watched Sour Grapes for the first time last night. Unbelievable. What ever happened to Kapon? Is he blacklisted from the wine community for knowingly selling and profiting off Rudy’s fakes?
Ummm...still hip-hoppin’

https://www.ackerwines.com/john-kapon-bio
So everyone in the wine community just gave him a pass, as if he was duped? No one believes he turned a blind eye for the profits? He’s back to running his auction house like nothing ever happened? And people feel comfortable buying from him? Yikes. This is all ALLEGEDLY, of course.
Pretty much. This has been a big disappointment to me. I’ll never provide a penny of business to Acker.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8518 Post by Don Cornwell » April 25th, 2020, 4:12 pm

J@redC wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 11:35 am
Just read through most of this entire thread. Don, wow. Amazing work. Thank you!
Jared:

Thanks. One of the incredible frustrations for me has been that John Kapon, Acker Merrall, Richard Brierley (ex-Christie's and Vanquish and now Bid for Wine/Forum Auctions UK), Christie's, Antonio Castanos, and Marc Lazar (Domaine Wine Storage), all of whom knowingly aided Rudy after his involvement in selling counterfeits was revealed in 2007, escaped any criminal or significant monetary consequences of their actions. They all offered and sold wines which they obtained directly from Rudy Kurniawan despite knowing that Rudy had previously been caught selling counterfeits and they did so without disclosing Rudy's identity as the source of the wines they were selling.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8519 Post by J@redC » April 25th, 2020, 4:46 pm

Don Cornwell wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 4:12 pm
J@redC wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 11:35 am
Just read through most of this entire thread. Don, wow. Amazing work. Thank you!
Jared:

Thanks. One of the incredible frustrations for me has been that John Kapon, Acker Merrall, Richard Brierley (ex-Christie's and Vanquish and now Bid for Wine/Forum Auctions UK), Christie's, Antonio Castanos, and Marc Lazar (Domaine Wine Storage), all of whom knowingly aided Rudy after his involvement in selling counterfeits was revealed in 2007, escaped any criminal or significant monetary consequences of their actions. They all offered and sold wines which they obtained directly from Rudy Kurniawan despite knowing that Rudy had previously been caught selling counterfeits and they did so without disclosing Rudy's identity as the source of the wines they were selling.
This is truly remarkable. In most any other industry they would be blackballed. Such a shame these guys are still walking around slinging bottles to the next highest bidder. Keep up the good fight Don!
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8520 Post by Jürgen Steinke » April 26th, 2020, 5:56 am

Don - I think Molineux-Berry mentioned that 5 Mags of Lafleur 47 were made according to the Robin-sisters, not 3.



BTW: Robert Parker reported in a Hedonist Gazette from an event when 2 Mags of 47 Lafleur were consumed. One he thought was ok while the other was out of this world. I confronted him with the video above. His answer was: You are too sceptic. I guess he answered like this because he raved about a wine that was most likely a fake. The same problem came to light when he was enthusiastic about jeroboams of 1920th Petrus he drank at a Rodenstock tasting in 1995 which were never produced based on a statement of the Moueix family.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8521 Post by Victor Hong » April 26th, 2020, 6:02 am

The system he found corrupt had corrupted him.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8522 Post by Don Cornwell » April 26th, 2020, 7:47 pm

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
April 26th, 2020, 5:56 am
Don - I think Molineux-Berry mentioned that 5 Mags of Lafleur 47 were made according to the Robin-sisters, not 3.
* * *
BTW: Robert Parker reported in a Hedonist Gazette from an event when 2 Mags of 47 Lafleur were consumed. One he thought was ok while the other was out of this world. I confronted him with the video above. His answer was: You are too sceptic. I guess he answered like this because he raved about a wine that was most likely a fake. The same problem came to light when he was enthusiastic about jeroboams of 1920th Petrus he drank at a Rodenstock tasting in 1995 which were never produced based on a statement of the Moueix family.
Yes, Jürgen, you are correct, it was five magnums.

I know that you also participated in the original thread on the e-Robert Parker Board about the David Molyneux-Berry video in August of 2007. I remember (and reviewed again today) your post in that thread taking Robert Parker to task for having lavishly praised the allegedly ancient Hardy Rodenstock wines he had tasted at the 1995 Rodenstock tasting in Germany. Mr. Parker's purported defense that he had only attended that one Rodenstock tasting in 1995 and declined to attend others obviously failed to address a key problem, which is that Robert Parker, Michael Broadbent and Allen Meadows helped to sell to the public the credibility of the two most notorious wine counterfeiters of all time.

As I pointed out in my August 15, 2007 post in that e-Robert Parker thread about the Molyneux-Berry video, the published auction results data showed that 17 magnums of 1947 Lafleur had been offered for sale at auction between 2004 and the end of 2006. 11 of those magnums came from Acker via Rudy's sales, with 7 of them from the Cellar II sale. Another 6 were offered for sale by Christie's in London on October 19, 2006 (which I believe also originated from Rudy Kurniawan who made two other consignments to Christie's in June and September of 2006 via Antonio Castanos.)

That thread contained some truly amazing comments from some of the players involved. Some of the really negative comments made about yours truly were later deleted.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz, who was allegedly involved in "authenticating" the Kurniawan wines for Acker, and later operated Dragon 8 auctions in Hong Kong (which offered the infamous "Swedish Nobleman's Cellar" that eventually forced the closure of Dragon 8) argued that the statements by the Robin sisters that there were only five magnums of 1947 produced were not credible:
There's nothing that points to her statement being credible. Trust me, I am very much involved in this aspect of the business, as someone who authenticates bottles arriving here in Las Vegas. * * * besides the seller of these 3 lots in the October 06 auction that is being referred to, is not only one of the greatest, but also never would be able to pass these fakes through that particular auction house. This is a fact. DMB was overreaching....
Incredibly, Robert Parker posted his agreement with Gil Lempert-Schwarz:
Gil is correct about the credibility of how many magnums of 1947 Lafleur there may or may not be, or for that matter any of the top Pomerols from the legendary vintages of the past ... little or no records were kept ...
Ray Tuppatsch, who was "King Angry" of the 12 Angry Men, and is documented to have purchased wines from Rudy Kurniawan, also stated that Molyneux-Berry's claim that only five magnums had been produced was "a bit hard to believe." But he later admitted to having opened two magnums of 1947 Lafleur from his own cellar that proved to be counterfeit. New York retailer Max Marrinucci claimed that he had purchased 2 or 3 magnums of counterfeit 1947 Lafleur as well as counterfeit 750s.

Following my post outing Rudy as the source of the 1947 Lafleur magnums sold by Acker in 2006, John Kapon submitted a very lengthy post defending Rudy, which initially tried to laugh the problem off.
Greetings from Hong Kong everybody.

Anyone want a case of 1947 Lafleur in magnums?
Kapon's three page long post later went on to state:
What should not happen now is a modern day version of the Salem witch trial. Rudy's collection was the most extraordinary to come to auction ever. Period. Why do you think it was successful? Because it was loaded with fake wines? Quite the opposite. I personally have had HUNDREDS of these types of wines from his collection with HUNDREDS of America's greatest collectors AND critics in public forums. If you were not there for any of these dozens of occasions over a period of fum to five years, it is easy to say, 'Yeah right.'
* * *
Rudy is in the same category as Bill [Koch], Russell [Frye] and any of the other mega-collectors of the past decade that have assembled extraordinary collections. There will be lemons here and there. What Rudy did do is drink this stuff at an enormous rate. For five years he educated himself as to what was right and what was not. He probably consumed $10 million of wine on his own, much of it opened for many other people as well. He, in essence, became more of an authority than most people in the world, someone that I often tum to when I have questions.
Contrary to his statements in the post, Kapon knew that the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions contained many known or suspected fakes. Mr. Kapon was well aware of the January of 2007 "authentication" tasting of Roumier wines purchased from the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions that was organized by Doug Barzelay and attended by Christophe Roumier and Allen Meadows. As Doug and Christophe Roumier testified at trial, the attendees all agreed that over half of the wines they tasted were clearly counterfeit. The tasting was written up in a March 2017 New York Times article (although that article did not disclose the full extent of the counterfeits found). John Kapon was quoted and his photo appeared in the article. As a result of that authentication tasting, millions of dollars worth of wine from the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions were returned to Acker Merrall for refunds. As of June of 2007, two months before Kapon's August 2007 post, Rudy owed Acker more than $5.6 million for refunded purchases. (That number continued to grow such that by 2008 Rudy owed Acker more than $10 million and Acker obtained a stipulated judgment against Rudy for that amount.) In order to attempt to recover that indebtedness, in June of 2007 John Kapon signed an agreement with Rudy Kurniawan for the consignment of the lots of counterfeit Ponsot, Roumier and Rousseau wines that were eventually offered for sale by Acker on April 25, 2008.

Many of the fake Ponsot wines offered by Acker in April of 2008 were easy to establish since Ponsot didn't produce or sell Clos St. Denis, Chambertin or Griotte Chambertin prior to 1982. It's impossible for me to believe that with more than nine months to conduct due diligence between the date of the consignment and the publication of the April 25, 2008 sale catalog, that John Kapon didn't know that. Indeed, Kapon knew that the 1929 Ponsot Clos de la Roche offered in the catalog predated the existence of Domaine Ponsot labeled wines -- because the catalog description by Kapon referenced that 1934 was the first vintage for domaine bottled wines from Ponsot. The Roumier and Rousseau wines offered from the Kurniawan cellar on April 25, 2008 were also largely if not entirely counterfeit, but those counterfeits were much more difficult to detect based on label discrepancies. When scrutinizing the catalog after the Ponsot lots were pulled, Geoff Troy and I found those label discrepancies, and I reported them to Jim Wynne of the FBI in the summer of 2008. The most notable discrepancy in the Roumier and Rousseau bottles offered in the April 2008 auction was that Roumier and Rousseau bottles supposedly dating from the 1934 through 1978 vintages all were printed on identical paper with totally unique deckled edges that didn't match the original labels. This was reported to the FBI, but it was never got publicly reported until 2013.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8523 Post by Victor Hong » April 26th, 2020, 8:04 pm

Ouch. Even RBS could not shoot off its own toes so precisely. (Well, actually, maybe.)

"Indeed, Kapon knew that the 1929 Ponsot Clos de la Roche offered in the catalog predated the existence of Domaine Ponsot labeled wines -- because the catalog description by Kapon referenced that 1934 was the first vintage for domaine bottled wines from Ponsot."

Translation: We sell wine made and cherished for many years before it ever existed.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8524 Post by Sean S y d n e y » April 28th, 2020, 1:42 pm

After reading through this entire (!) thread - thank you, quarantine - one thing makes me curious.

I don't know how good some auction houses' records are, but it seems some of the wines that Rudy sold that were actually extant at one time - early 20th century Pétrus, mid-century vintages of Romanée-Conti, etcetera - had not shown up for sale in decades, if ever, correct?

Putting aside the fact that it is absolutely insane for people to believe that treasures that had not been seen for dozens of years were suddenly unearthed in great numbers, the claim that Rudy served authentic wines - these once-in-a-lifetime wines - at some points during his heyday to some of his marks before later selling them counterfeits seems implausible, because it seems in many cases they simply did not exist any more.

Don, you've posted a few times that the only source of Rudy's buying was his own boast of $1m/month and Kapon's claim that the owner of The Cellar had consumed tens of millions of dollars' worth of his own collection to educate himself. I'm sure that he was buying outrageous numbers of bottles, but was he ever on record actually being the winning bidder or purchaser of any of these unicorn wines? Is there ANY evidence of purchase by Rudy of these wines from legitimate sources at ANY point? Because surely, even pre-Rudy, a 1945 Romanée-Conti being for sale anywhere would be an event and it would likely get snapped up by the billionaires of the world before it ever made it into the hands of a precocious youngster from L.A. with a mere few millions to spend.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8525 Post by Matt Fleming » April 28th, 2020, 10:18 pm

Kapon's three page long post later went on to state:
... Rudy's collection was the most extraordinary to come to auction ever. Period.
He has a point!

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8526 Post by Robert M yers » April 29th, 2020, 12:20 am

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 1:42 pm
After reading through this entire (!) thread - thank you, quarantine - one thing makes me curious.

I don't know how good some auction houses' records are, but it seems some of the wines that Rudy sold that were actually extant at one time - early 20th century Pétrus, mid-century vintages of Romanée-Conti, etcetera - had not shown up for sale in decades, if ever, correct?

Putting aside the fact that it is absolutely insane for people to believe that treasures that had not been seen for dozens of years were suddenly unearthed in great numbers, the claim that Rudy served authentic wines - these once-in-a-lifetime wines - at some points during his heyday to some of his marks before later selling them counterfeits seems implausible, because it seems in many cases they simply did not exist any more.

Don, you've posted a few times that the only source of Rudy's buying was his own boast of $1m/month and Kapon's claim that the owner of The Cellar had consumed tens of millions of dollars' worth of his own collection to educate himself. I'm sure that he was buying outrageous numbers of bottles, but was he ever on record actually being the winning bidder or purchaser of any of these unicorn wines? Is there ANY evidence of purchase by Rudy of these wines from legitimate sources at ANY point? Because surely, even pre-Rudy, a 1945 Romanée-Conti being for sale anywhere would be an event and it would likely get snapped up by the billionaires of the world before it ever made it into the hands of a precocious youngster from L.A. with a mere few millions to spend.
Hidden cellars untouched for years in the deep depths of Europe is so much more romantic than buying from the last guy to own these via Acker ect.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8527 Post by Don Cornwell » April 29th, 2020, 12:51 am

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 1:42 pm
After reading through this entire (!) thread - thank you, quarantine - one thing makes me curious.

I don't know how good some auction houses' records are, but it seems some of the wines that Rudy sold that were actually extant at one time - early 20th century Pétrus, mid-century vintages of Romanée-Conti, etcetera - had not shown up for sale in decades, if ever, correct?

Putting aside the fact that it is absolutely insane for people to believe that treasures that had not been seen for dozens of years were suddenly unearthed in great numbers, the claim that Rudy served authentic wines - these once-in-a-lifetime wines - at some points during his heyday to some of his marks before later selling them counterfeits seems implausible, because it seems in many cases they simply did not exist any more.

Don, you've posted a few times that the only source of Rudy's buying was his own boast of $1m/month and Kapon's claim that the owner of The Cellar had consumed tens of millions of dollars' worth of his own collection to educate himself. I'm sure that he was buying outrageous numbers of bottles, but was he ever on record actually being the winning bidder or purchaser of any of these unicorn wines? Is there ANY evidence of purchase by Rudy of these wines from legitimate sources at ANY point? Because surely, even pre-Rudy, a 1945 Romanée-Conti being for sale anywhere would be an event and it would likely get snapped up by the billionaires of the world before it ever made it into the hands of a precocious youngster from L.A. with a mere few millions to spend.
Sean

The point you are making is precisely why I believed from the moment that I was introduced to Rudy by John Kapon in April of 2002 that Rudy was fundamentally dishonest (at a minimum) or a con artist looking to defraud me. While I had seen Rudy at a few retailer tastings previously, I had never met him until John Kapon introduced Rudy to me at an Acker pre-auction tasting in Los Angeles in April of 2002. John told Rudy that I was a burgundy drinker/collector who had been at it for a long time and encouraged us to chat. We wandered off with glasses of one of the tasting wines in hand. Rudy almost immediately asked me who my favorite burgundy producer was (Roumier) and then asked what the oldest vintage of Roumier Bonnes Mares I had ever tasted was (1969). After eliciting those answers Rudy then proceeded to tell me that he had tasted the 1945, 1949 and 1955 Bonnes Mares in the last year and explained that he was able to buy all of those wines from great cellars in Europe. My bullshit meter went off the scale. I had been buying Roumier and searching for older Roumier like the holy grail for almost 20 years at that point, as had by friends John Tilson and Geoff Troy. Geoff's been in the wine trade his entire working life and John was the former wine critic behind the Underground Wine Letter. We had all been looking for older Roumier wines in auctions and in Europe and we knew that the wines just did not exist in the market and hadn't been there for the previousl 20 years. Almost immediately thereafter Rudy suggested that I should "go in with him" on buying burgundies from cellars in Europe. I already knew that Rudy was at least fundamentally dishonest, but at this point I suspected he was a con man. I told Rudy that I had my own sources in Europe that I was perfectly happy with and that I really wasn't interested in buying wines with him. I quickly excused myself to go the restroom and I didn't return to continue the conversation with Rudy when I came back. Along with another friend at the event, who had the same reaction to Rudy that I did, we stood on the side and watched Rudy introducing himself to the other wine collectors at the event. Rudy invariably bragged about the wines he claimed to have tasted, and offered to help purchase wines with/for many of them. I saw this scenario repeated at two more Acker pre-auction events I attended. I couldn't believe that anyone would believe this bullshit. but one of my friends, Brian Devine, turned out to be one of Rudy's early victims.

One of the things to keep in mind here is that there were actually two significant counterfeiters - Hardy Rodenstock and Rudy Kurniawan - who were operating at the same time and pumping counterfeit wines into the US and world markets. (In addition to the auction markets, Rodenstock was funnelling counterfeit wines through US retailers like Royal Wine Merchants, which is where Eric Greenberg claimed to have acquired most of his counterfeit wines.) In some cases, Kurniwan and Rodenstock both produced counterfeit wines alleged to be from the same producers (e.g. Petrus and other other Pomerols). So a lot of the 1920's era Petrus and 1940s to 1960s Pomerols "in the market" at the time Rudy's legend started forming actually came from Hardy Rodenstock and the merchants that he sold through.

Rudy did buy wines at the US auctions held by Acker, Zachy's, Christie's and occasionally Sotheby's and at least once Bonhams in LA. You've undoubtedly read (or seen in Sour Grapes) about Rudy putting up his paddle and not taking it down until he was successful. Rudy did buy some old Bordeaux and burgundy in those auctions, but in reality I do not believe that purchased the $1 million per month of wine at auction that he boasted about to the LA Times in 2006. Rudy never traveled outside of the US due to the deportation order issued against him in 2003, because if he had, he would not have been allowed back in the country. As far I have been able to determine, he did not buy wines as an absentee bidder at the European auctions. Rudy did buy some wines in Europe via the wine trade, including two large purchases of old Patriarche burgundies and a number of old bordeaux and old burgundies from very off vintages -- which made no sense for a collector of Rudy's alleged stature if the purchases were for legitimate purposes. I turned over the documents I obtained about these purchases to the FBI.

Rudy did buy a few unicorn wines via auction, such as the 1929 DRC Vosne Romanee Les Gaudichots that he bought from the Doris Duke auction in conjunction with Eric Greenberg. Rudy did not to my knowledge ever buy any 1945 Romanee Conti at auction because authentic bottles were never offered at auction. While the records today show a surprising number of 1945 Romanee Conti bottles offered at auction since 2002, there are only two known to be authentic -- two bottles from Robert Drouhin from Domaine Drouhin sold by Sotheby's in 2018. The remaining bottles I believe all came from three sources: (1) Rudy Kurniawan, either from direct consignments by Rudy or from bottles which Rudy sold to other wine collectors who consigned them to auction; (2) a source in France who has been selling counterfeit 1945 Romanee Conti using the same template for almost two decades. (Does anyone remember the counterfeit bottle sold by Charly Trotters' Restaurant shortly before they closed? That wine was from the same source. I have reported this individual to DRC, Interpol and the French Gendarme, but he has never been prosecuted for selling counterfeits); and (3) Christie's sold the same bottle of 1945 DRC Romanee Conti in Geneva twice- once in 2007 and again in 2011. This particular bottle has never been authenticated, and it was sold the last time to David Doyle, who also bought a dozen counterfeit 1945 Romanee Conti wines from Rudy.

Rudy claimed in a post on the old e-Robert Parker bulletin board long ago about a particular tasting attended by John Kapon that Rudy had bought six bottles of 1945 Romanee Conti from an Asian collector. This was the part of the myth of the so-called "magic cellar" that Rudy talked about. Rudy also claimed to have bought the remainder of the former Nicolas cellars in Paris. Rudy proceeded to sell multiple cases of 1945 Romanee Conti to gullible billionaire wine collectors who incredibly believed that they could actually buy 6 bottles or 12 bottles of the rarest burgundy on earth, of which only 606 bottles were made, 57 plus years after the fact.
Last edited by Don Cornwell on April 29th, 2020, 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8528 Post by Don Cornwell » April 29th, 2020, 12:53 am

Matt Fleming wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 10:18 pm
Kapon's three page long post later went on to state:
... Rudy's collection was the most extraordinary to come to auction ever. Period.
He has a point!
Not at all. It was the most extraordinary set of mostly counterfeit wines ever offered anywhere.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8529 Post by A Songeur » April 29th, 2020, 1:22 am

Out of curiosity, has Kapon been also jailed?
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8530 Post by Don Cornwell » April 29th, 2020, 1:33 am

A Songeur wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 1:22 am
Out of curiosity, has Kapon been also jailed?
Unfortunately not.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8531 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 29th, 2020, 4:29 am

Don,
Your work was tireless and extraordinary. Thank you.

How much longer has Rudy got to serve?
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8532 Post by Victor Hong » April 29th, 2020, 5:14 am

Don Cornwell wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 12:51 am
.............

One of the things to keep in mind here is that there were actually two significant counterfeiters - Hardy Rodenstock and Rudy Kurniawan - who were operating at the same time and pumping counterfeit wines into the US and world markets. (In addition to the auction markets, Rodenstock was funnelling counterfeit wines through US retailers like Royal Wine Merchants, which is where Eric Greenberg claimed to have acquired most of his counterfeit wines.) In some cases, Kurniwan and Rodenstock both produced counterfeit wines alleged to be from the same producers (e.g. Petrus and other other Pomerols). So a lot of the 1920's era Petrus and 1940s to 1960s Pomerols "in the market" at the time Rudy's legend started forming actually came from Hardy Rodenstock and the merchants that he sold through.
...................................Rudy claimed in a post on the old e-Robert Parker bulletin board long ago about a particular tasting attended by John Kapon that Rudy had bought six bottles of 1945 Romanee Conti from an Asian collector. This was the part of the myth of the so-called "magic cellar" that Rudy talked about. Rudy also claimed to have bought the remainder of the former Nicolas cellars in Paris. Rudy proceeded to sell multiple cases of 1945 Romanee Conti to gullible billionaire wine collectors who incredibly believed that they could actually buy 6 bottles or 12 bottles of the rarest burgundy on earth, of which only 606 bottles were made, 57 plus years after the fact.
I can still visualize all the hand-scribbled junk faxes which Royal Wine Merchants sent to me at First Boston, listing all these wines, and wondered then who would be gullible. Well, some people have more money than sense. Why would a marketer sell such coveted trophies so informally and crudely, by hawking them like used car tires at a Bronx body shop?

Never did I think that Parker or Meadows could be so naive, lulled, or worse.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8533 Post by Robert M yers » April 29th, 2020, 5:38 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 4:29 am
Don,
Your work was tireless and extraordinary. Thank you.

How much longer has Rudy got to serve?
Don’s post in 8494

By the way, Rudy Kurniawan, now age 43, was transferred from the Federal prison near Taft California to the Reeves I & II prison facility, which is operated by a Federal contractor, in Pecos Texas. According to the Bureau of Prisons website, Rudy is scheduled to be released on November 7, 2020. Rudy was sentenced to ten years in prison but was given credit for the time he was in jail (bail was denied as he was deemed a flight risk). Rudy was arrested in March of 2012, so he has apparently obtained sufficient good time credits so as to be released about 16 months early.

Under the terms of the prior Federal judgments in the immigration case that was discussed in the criminal trial, Rudy is supposed to be deported after his release from prison. However, as you may recall, after Rudy had exhausted all of his appeals seeking asylum etc., he was ordered to be deported in 2003. Rudy never left the country and the former INS apparently lost track of Rudy until was arrested in March of 2012. Hopefully, he'll be turned over to Homeland Security directly from Federal prison.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8534 Post by Victor Hong » April 29th, 2020, 5:45 am

Robert M yers wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 5:38 am
Mark Golodetz wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 4:29 am
Don,
Your work was tireless and extraordinary. Thank you.

How much longer has Rudy got to serve?
Don’s post in 8494

By the way, Rudy Kurniawan, now age 43, was transferred from the Federal prison near Taft California to the Reeves I & II prison facility, which is operated by a Federal contractor, in Pecos Texas. According to the Bureau of Prisons website, Rudy is scheduled to be released on November 7, 2020. Rudy was sentenced to ten years in prison but was given credit for the time he was in jail (bail was denied as he was deemed a flight risk). Rudy was arrested in March of 2012, so he has apparently obtained sufficient good time credits so as to be released about 16 months early.

Under the terms of the prior Federal judgments in the immigration case that was discussed in the criminal trial, Rudy is supposed to be deported after his release from prison. However, as you may recall, after Rudy had exhausted all of his appeals seeking asylum etc., he was ordered to be deported in 2003. Rudy never left the country and the former INS apparently lost track of Rudy until was arrested in March of 2012. Hopefully, he'll be turned over to Homeland Security directly from Federal prison.
Indonesia seems poised for Coronavirus outbreaks. Timing is everything.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8535 Post by Jürgen Steinke » April 29th, 2020, 5:45 am

It would be really interesting to know what Ralf Frenzel has to say. He acted as a Sommelier at Rodenstock tastings so I think he must have some inside informations about the 20th Petruses in Imperial bottles and so forth. Since Rodenstock died in 2018 he could speak without hiding anything.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8536 Post by Dennis Borczon » April 29th, 2020, 6:18 am

Robert M yers wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 5:38 am
Mark Golodetz wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 4:29 am
Don,
Your work was tireless and extraordinary. Thank you.

How much longer has Rudy got to serve?
Don’s post in 8494

By the way, Rudy Kurniawan, now age 43, was transferred from the Federal prison near Taft California to the Reeves I & II prison facility, which is operated by a Federal contractor, in Pecos Texas. According to the Bureau of Prisons website, Rudy is scheduled to be released on November 7, 2020. Rudy was sentenced to ten years in prison but was given credit for the time he was in jail (bail was denied as he was deemed a flight risk). Rudy was arrested in March of 2012, so he has apparently obtained sufficient good time credits so as to be released about 16 months early.

Under the terms of the prior Federal judgments in the immigration case that was discussed in the criminal trial, Rudy is supposed to be deported after his release from prison. However, as you may recall, after Rudy had exhausted all of his appeals seeking asylum etc., he was ordered to be deported in 2003. Rudy never left the country and the former INS apparently lost track of Rudy until was arrested in March of 2012. Hopefully, he'll be turned over to Homeland Security directly from Federal prison.
Unless he gets himself to a sanctuary city. He was living in SoCal for years, with a high profile and a deportation order that was never executed.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8537 Post by Sean S y d n e y » April 29th, 2020, 7:06 am

Don Cornwell wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 12:51 am

Sean
Thanks so much for the post, Don. It seemed utterly far-fetched that he could have EVER procured bottles which experienced, knowledgeable people with the means to acquire them had been looking for for years and would be privy to the sale of. The idea that Rudy ever had even a single authentic bottle of most of his trophies to present at dinners and bacchanalia beggars belief.

That's an interesting point about Rodenstock. I wonder if Rudy ever bought Hardy wines at any point - what irony that would be.

Also fantastic information on the Romanée-Conti. Curious about the Doris Duke Gaudichots - did he ever bring it to an event to open and show off? I assume the empty bottle went right back into circulation or was a reference point for his other fakes. I would, again, be genuinely surprised if he didn't just drink it himself to try to figure out how he could counterfeit it. Rudy's "generosity" was legendary, but I think most con men both hate the idea of actually sharing their wealth and are thrilled by the act of fooling others.

It's no surprise how much the Drouhin wines sold for since their provenance is unimpeachable. It seems the collections or cellars of people IN Burgundy might be the only legitimate sources for whatever is left of these jewels. For the billionaires who usually are proven correct that their money gives them access to things others can't dream of, it still baffles me that they think that any precious cellars would go to, again, a neophyte with comparatively little to spend instead of doing what anyone with such a collection would do with it: sell the wines openly and publicly to the highest bidders, drumming up as much publicity and interest as possible.

Again, thank you for your work and sharing your knowledge.
Last edited by Sean S y d n e y on April 29th, 2020, 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8538 Post by M a x S w o m l e y » April 29th, 2020, 7:09 am

Don Cornwell wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 1:33 am
A Songeur wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 1:22 am
Out of curiosity, has Kapon been also jailed?
Unfortunately not.
Don, can you turn this into a book? Seriously, great read. And Spectrum Wine Auctions has me confused - is that the one I still see doing online auctions? If so, is it a legitimate operation now or is the safe bet to stay away?

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8539 Post by John Morris » April 29th, 2020, 8:40 am

J@redC wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 10:43 am
Robert M yers wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 10:37 am
J@redC wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 10:01 am
Wow. Watched Sour Grapes for the first time last night. Unbelievable. What ever happened to Kapon? Is he blacklisted from the wine community for knowingly selling and profiting off Rudy’s fakes?
Ummm...still hip-hoppin’

https://www.ackerwines.com/john-kapon-bio
So everyone in the wine community just gave him a pass, as if he was duped? No one believes he turned a blind eye for the profits? He’s back to running his auction house like nothing ever happened? And people feel comfortable buying from him? Yikes. This is all ALLEGEDLY, of course.
Many of us here refuse to patronize Acker, but most wine buyers — even pretty serious wine lovers — haven’t followed the scandal and are unaware of Kapon’s role. I’ve had to inform a number of friends in NYC, where you’d think it might be more common knowledge.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8540 Post by Larry Stein » April 29th, 2020, 8:54 am

(20/20 hindsight disclaimer)
If I still owned all the Henri Jayer Burgundies I drank, Kapon would be the last person on Earth I'd let near 'em.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8541 Post by Don Cornwell » April 30th, 2020, 9:56 am

THE APRIL 25, 2008 (PONSOT) AUCTION – THE REST OF THE STORY YOU NEVER HEARD ABOUT

Most of you are familiar with the most notorious portion of the story about the April 25, 2008 Acker Merrall auction -- that Rudy Kurniawan consigned for auction with Acker Merrall alleged Ponsot wines which included Chambertin and Clos St. Denis from vintages prior to 1982, which were never made by Ponsot. As explained in Sour Grapes, in various articles and in the trial testimony described in this thread, the day after the auction Rudy had lunch with Laurent Ponsot, Doug Barzelay and John Kapon. In response to questions from Laurent Ponsot, Rudy claimed that he had bought the Ponsot wines from another collector, but was evasive about who and where the bottles allegedly came from. Sometime later Rudy told Laurent Ponsot that he had bought the wines from an Indonesian collector named “Mr. Pak” (the Indonesian equivalent of Smith) and provided Laurent Ponsot with a bogus phone number. Almost four years later, in March of 2012, Rudy Kurniawan was arrested and the FBI found a counterfeiting factory being operated from Rudy’s home.

What you didn’t hear about in 2008 or thereafter, because it was never disclosed (until a snippet in my Post 8522 above), was the rest of the story about the other wines in the Rudy Kurniawan consignment to the April 25, 2008 auction, which made it essential that we contact the FBI. The Ponsot wines that were withdrawn from the auction got all of the public attention, and rightly so because it’s impossible to explain wines being offered at auction that were never made. But Rudy also offered in that same consignment 32 lots of Roumier Musigny, Bonnes Mares and Amoureuses ranging from 1929 to 1978 and 18 lots of purported Rousseau Chambertin and Chambertin Clos de Beze in 750s and magnums ranging from 1945 to 1971. Geoff Troy and I suspected that those bottles were equally counterfeit, but they had been sold.

Unlike our mutual friend Doug Barzelay, who initially reviewed the catalog and noticed the Ponsot bottles and contacted Laurent Ponsot, Geoff Troy and I were not involved in the events leading up to the April 25, 2008 auction. Although I had been continuing to monitor Rudy’s involvement in selling wines after the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions from afar, I was not aware that wines from Rudy were being included in the April 25, 2008 Acker auction named “A Selection From the Cellar of Robert A. Rosania.” So, I didn’t scrutinize the catalog until after the Ponsot wines had been pulled at Laurent Ponsot’s insistence and Peter Hellman’s story about the auction was published in the Wine Spectator.

After reading the Wine Spectator story, I discussed the situation with Geoff Troy. Given the details described in Peter Hellman’s article, and the notoriety and $36 million sales volume of the Cellar I and II auctions, we expected that one law enforcement agency or another would promptly open a criminal investigation relating to the counterfeit Ponsot bottles. But days turned into weeks and no investigation was announced. We began to wonder whether the fact that Laurent Ponsot had managed to force John Kapon to withdraw the bottles from the auction might lead the government to have less interest in a criminal investigation on theory that it was only attempted fraud, which had been foiled by Doug Barzelay and Laurent Ponsot.

Given the prior history, Geoff and I both strongly suspected that the Ponsot wines were not the full extent of the counterfeits, so we both began examining the catalog in greater detail. Geoff quickly noticed that virtually all of the Roumier and Rousseau bottles shown in the photos appeared to be printed on the same paper. The paper for both sets of labels had very unique deckled edges with a very distinct “two peaks and a valley” pattern which appeared on the bottom of each label. The deckled edges on this paper were unusual and we had never seen this precise type of label paper before. It seemed inconceivable that two brands could use identical paper for their labels for a 50 year period. See the annotated photos below.

ImageImageImageImageImage

The labels used on the oldest Roumier and Rousseau wines offered in the auction, which appeared to have been rubbed with dirt, also had tight horizontal lines which appeared to be glue lines from modern pre-glued labels. See the second and third photos above. As Christophe Roumier later testified at Rudy’s trial, Roumier did not use pre-glued labels during the 1929 to 1978 span of vintages included in the April 25, 2008 auction.

There were other more serious anomalies as well. While the 1949 Rousseau Chambertin, 1959 Roumier Bonnes Mares and 1978 Roumier Musigny shown in photographs in the April 25, 2008 catalog all had deckled edges, the exemplars we had, from what we believed to be authentic bottles, had straight edges and the text and print on the labels did not match Rudy’s labels.

Problems with the Roumier bottles

In late May of 2008, while Geoff and I were continuing to examine Rudy’s Rousseau and Roumier lots, Zachy’s published a catalog for a June 2008 auction which included 1959 Roumier Bonnes Mares and Musigny from the cellar of Dr. Bob Adamson, an iconic wine collector from Northern California. I knew his bottles were authentic. I asked Zachy’s to send me photos of both bottles. The 1959 Bonnes Mares was imported by and purchased from Esquin in San Francisco, which was the same alleged source claimed by Rudy Kurniawan in the Acker catalog. A photo of one of the Bob Adamson bottles is shown below.

Image

The Roumier labels from the Adamson cellar were printed on straight-edged paper and the text was different from the Kurniawan bottles. Rudy’s bottle was missing the word “Domaine” before “G. Roumier.” Rudy’s bottle was missing the box on the bottom of the label with the vintage 1959 printed therein. Rudy’s bottle had the layout of the name of the domaine and its location incorrectly placed and configured on the label. The font on Chambolle Musigny was also different. The word “Propriétaires,” which appears in microscopic print on the Rudy label, should not be on the label at all. Rudy’s label was missing the words “Mise En Bouteille A La Propriéte” at the bottom of the label. The vine design on Rudy’s neck label did not match the Adamson bottle.

The text “Ancien Domaine Belorgey,” which should be on authentic Roumier Bonnes Mares labels from Esquin, was completely missing from Rudy’s bottle. There was an obvious reason for this. Rudy had been exposed at the January 2007 authentication conducted by Doug Barzelay and Don Stott, with Christophe Roumier in attendance, as having sold several bottles of Roumier Bonnes Mares in the Cellar I and Cellar II auctions from vintages between 1924 and 1949 which contained the words “Ancien Domaine Belorgey” -- but shouldn’t have. Those bottles were clearly counterfeit because Roumier first purchased and obtained the grapes from the Belorgey vines in Bonnes Mares in 1952. The designation “Ancien Domaine Belorgey” was utilized only on the wine produced from the former Belorgey vines, which are located on the red soils portion of the Bonnes Mares vineyard on the Morey side. The Bonnes Mares produced from the red soils portion of the vineyard (designated “Ancien Domaine Belorgey”) was separately bottled and exported exclusively to the United States from 1952 through 1987. This included the 1959 Bonnes Mares shipped to Esquin in the US, as appears on the Bob Adamson bottles offered by Zachy’s. Rudy, already having made the mistake of including “Ancien Domaine Belorgey” on the 1924 to 1949 Bonnes Mares bottles in Cellar I and II, and having the wines identified as counterfeit as a result, apparently eliminated that language on the new round of counterfeits he produced for Kapon’s April 25, 2008 auction – and in doing so, made another serious error.

1978 Roumier Musigny

The 1978 Roumier Musigny from Rudy, with its unusual deckled edges, did not match the straight-edged labels which were used on all of the US and European labels (as Christophe Roumier later confirmed). Nor did Rudy’s label match the small and very uniform deckled edges used on the 1978 UK labels, which, as Christophe also later confirmed, had the name of the UK importer printed on the labels. See the photos below.

ImageImage

The text on Rudy’s 1978 Roumier Musigny label mistakenly listed the domaine as “Domaine G. Roumier et ses fils,” but the "et ses fils" had been deleted after the 1976 vintage. The authentic 1978 Roumier labels, of which I had many examples from my own cellar, including Musigny identical to the one shown above (which is from one of my long time former suppliers in France) listed the domaine as “Domaine G. Roumier.” Rudy's labels in the April 2008 Acker auction also contained a single line of almost microscopic text on the left of the vintage box at the bottom of the label saying “Produce of France” and two lines of italicized text on the right of the vintage box stating “Mis en bouteille au Domaine.” This language was incorrect.

On the authentic 1978 Roumier Musigny labels (see the two photos immediately above), there were two lines of text to left of the vintage box which stated in block capital letters “PRODUCE OF FRANCE” and “ALCOHOL 13.5% BY VOL.” On the right side of the vintage box, there were three lines of text, the first two of which were printed in italic capital and small letters: “Mis en bouteille au domaine” which was followed by a third line of block text stating “750 ML”. This was true for the US labels, the UK labels and the European labels.

The Purported Domaine Bottled Pre-1945 Roumier Wines

Even beyond the label problems on the Roumier wines, there was a bigger problem with Rudy’s Roumier consignment. As Inside Burgundy by Jasper Morris makes clear, “[t]he domaine was founded in 1924 by Georges Roumier, who began domaine bottling in 1945.” Prior to 1945, Roumier’s production was sold to negociants and local merchants and, after the end of prohibition (in 1933), Frank Schoonmaker established a wine import company in 1935 and began importing wines from certain producers in Burgundy, including Roumier. Prior to 1978, Roumier’s tiny Musigny vineyard (just under 0.10 ha), which now produces between 300 and 450 bottles per year, was leased on a metayage arrangement, with half of the production going to the former vineyard owner. The pre-1978 production from Musigny which belonged to Roumier was typically 150-200 bottles. And yet here, in the April 25, 2008 Acker catalog, Rudy Kurniawan was purporting to offer seven lots of alleged domaine-bottled/labeled Roumier wines from vintage years prior to 1945 as follows:
  • Lot 381A – one bottle of 1929 Roumier Bonnes Mares
    Lot 382 – one bottle of 1934 Roumier Bonnes Mares
    Lot 382 – one bottle of 1937 Roumier Bonnes Mares
    Lot 400 – one bottle of 1929 Roumier Musigny
    Lot 401 – one bottle of 1934 Roumier Musigny
    Lot 402 – one bottle of 1935 Roumier Musigny
    Lot 403 – one bottle of 1937 Roumier Musigny
In checking the auction records I verified that there was not a single record of any pre-1955 Roumier wine having been sold at auction at any time. Nor was there any public record I could locate either on the internet or in books that I owned suggesting that pre-1945 Roumier wine had been sold under a Roumier label at any time. Allen Meadows and Doug Barzelay have tasted three pre-1945 Roumier bottles with Christophe Roumier at the domaine from the family’s cellar – 1928, 1933 and 1934 Bonnes Mares. It appeared that every other bottle that has been described publicly originated from Rudy Kurniawan.

No explanation was offered in the Acker catalog to explain the source of these bottles. Certain questions had to be obvious to John Kapon. Where did these wines come from? How could they bear Domaine Roumier labels when there was no domaine-bottling prior to 1945? Assuming arguendo that the wines were sold after 1945 from the Roumier family’s personal reserves, why are there no records of such sale at the domaine? There were no import labels and no import source was listed for the 1934, 1935 and 1937 Musigny in the Acker catalog -- so how could Rudy have gotten the alleged bottles into the US without import labels? If the wines were authentic, the lengthy introduction by Kapon should have contained answers to some or all of these questions.

Problems with the Rousseau bottles

When Geoff and I examined the Acker catalog and photos in detail, we found that according to the lot descriptions (and some photos) five of the Rousseau lots from Rudy included in the auction had wax capsules, including some of the infamous pink gritty capsules we had seen in the Cellar II auction. But neither Geoff nor I had ever seen a Rousseau bottle with a wax capsule.

Rudy’s 1949 Rousseau Chambertin, which had the red and black European label with the same deckled edges, simply didn’t match other bottles we believe to be authentic. The legitimate red and black 1949 Rousseau Chambertin labels say “Chambertin” with black lettering with a white shadow box behind it. See, e.g., the photos below. The authentic labels also have Rousseau’s cork emblem on the lower left portion of the label and the words Appellation Controlée stretching from the lower left to the upper right in green ink.

ImageImage
1949 Rousseau Chambertin labels from bottles sold by Aziz Kahn (left) and Don Stott (right)

But on Rudy’s version of the 1949 Chambertin in the Acker catalog the word “Chambertin” on the label was simply printed with straight black lettering with no white shadowbox behind it, and the words Appellation Controlée appeared in very small black lettering in a straight line below the word Chambertin. Additionally, the size of the print and the fonts used in printing the four lines of text on the lower right portion of the label were quite different on Rudy’s purported label.

Contacting the FBI

The evidence that Geoff and I saw suggested that ALL or nearly all of the purported Rousseau, Roumier and Ponsot wines offered by Rudy Kurniawan in the April 25, 2008 auction were obviously counterfeit – not just the Ponsot wines. The use of identical and clearly incorrect paper on the labels for both the Roumier and Rousseau wines allegedly spanning 50 years also appeared to make clear that Rudy was actually manufacturing counterfeit wines himself, not just reselling “lemons” (as John Kapon liked to called counterfeit bottles) that Rudy had acquired from others.

Geoff contacted an attorney at the Nassau County District Attorney’s office to determine whether any investigation had commenced. The attorney reported back told that no investigation had been opened. So in late May Geoff and I resolved to “do whatever it takes” to find the right person at the FBI to give this information to, who might actually have the expertise and motivation to do something about it. After consulting with the former FBI agents who worked with Bill Koch on the Hardy Rodenstock matter, I was referred to Jim Wynne of the FBI “collectible frauds” squad in New York in early June of 2008. I then formally reported that we had reason to believe that Rudy Kurniawan was actively engaged in manufacturing and selling counterfeit wine.

In the same time period, I also contacted Christophe Roumier and Eric Rousseau by email seeking their help. Christophe Roumier reported back by email that he had considerable doubts about the authenticity of the Roumier wines offered by Rudy in the auction but he offered no specifics as to the reasons for his statement. Much later, Christophe told me that there was another lot of magnums of 1962 Roumier Bonnes Mares that had been offered by Rudy in the Christie’s auction held in Los Angeles in April of 2007, which Christophe had requested that Christie’s withdraw from that auction because Christophe did not think it was authentic. Christie's did so. This was the same auction from which the magnums of 1982 Chateau Le Pin shown on the cover of the catalog had been withdrawn at the request of Le Pin. But the request for withdrawal by Roumier, and the withdrawal of those magnums, was never publicized or known to the trade. A photo of the magnums of the 1962 Roumier Bonnes Mares consigned by Rudy and withdrawn from the Christie’s auction is shown below. The purported 1962 Roumier magnums have the identical deckled edges that Geoff and I had red flagged from the April 25, 2008 Acker auction. Christophe later apologized for not having provided assistance in response to my initial emails. While Rousseau also failed to respond to the initial emails, both domaines later fully cooperated with the FBI when the FBI formally sought their assistance through official channels.

Image
Counterfeit 1962 Roumier Bonnes Magnums Withdrawn from Christie's April 2007 auction at the request of Roumier
Last edited by Don Cornwell on April 30th, 2020, 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8542 Post by Victor Hong » April 30th, 2020, 10:12 am

Fraud sleuthing is fun. Each move by the fraudster helps to reveal the fraud.
Posting the evidence to authorities and then the public domain is even more fun, especially when the fraudsters complain that evidence-destruction instructions were not executed. champagne.gif [wow.gif] [snort.gif]
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8543 Post by Jeff King » April 30th, 2020, 1:34 pm

I don’t wish to downplay the responsibility of those involved in this fraud, nor the losses to some buyers and honest parties. Yet considering one subset of the victims, the economist in me comes out. Buyers who consumed the bottles they bought, and didn’t know the difference -- how much were they harmed?

Those who bought them to brag about possession, then satisfy their own palates, and get loaded with like-minded buddies -- they received that utility.

Any bottle of wine, assuming you mean to drink it, is a brief experience. Some guys bought tickets for a ride to Mars, hugely enjoyed their ride to Mars, and after the fact realized no airline to Mars was then in existence. If the illusion was real for the duration of the experience -- didn’t they get what the contents of the bottles were expected to deliver?

A few parties hyped the tickets to the tiny number of people who both believe in interplanetary travel and can afford the ride. No buyer was ruined. There was negligible spill into wider realms of economic (or criminal) activity. Given the much bigger wars they are fighting, I can understand why authorities only prosecuted Kurniawan. That the civil courts and the market have left others operating is as troubling to me. Caveat emptor.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8544 Post by Jeff Leve » April 30th, 2020, 1:58 pm

Jeff King wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:34 pm
Yet considering one subset of the victims, the economist in me comes out. Buyers who consumed the bottles they bought, and didn’t know the difference -- how much were they harmed?

Those who bought them to brag about possession, then satisfy their own palates, and get loaded with like-minded buddies -- they received that utility.
Sorry, but this is the craziest post I have seen in ages! From start to finish, your post is crazy. Because a person is wealthy, it is OK to fleece them? Seriously? And they buy these wines to get loaded? Where do you get these ideas?

According to you, a buyer of a forged work of art that didn't know he was taken is fine, because they thought the art was original? Purchasers of classic cars that are not what they were purported to be, got what they deserved because they didn't know? What about the collector buying baseball cards, or any other collectible for that matter? What about the parent that bought an Iphone for his kid, only to find out later it was a counterfeit? The list of examples is endless.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8545 Post by Greg K » April 30th, 2020, 2:03 pm

Jeff Leve wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:58 pm
Jeff King wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:34 pm
Yet considering one subset of the victims, the economist in me comes out. Buyers who consumed the bottles they bought, and didn’t know the difference -- how much were they harmed?

Those who bought them to brag about possession, then satisfy their own palates, and get loaded with like-minded buddies -- they received that utility.
Sorry, but this is the craziest post I have seen in ages! From start to finish, your post is crazy. Because a person is wealthy, it is OK to fleece them? Seriously? And they buy these wines to get loaded? Where do you get these ideas?

According to you, a buyer of a forged work of art that didn't know he was taken is fine, because they thought the art was original? Purchasers of classic cars that are not what they were purported to be, got what they deserved because they didn't know? What about the collector buying baseball cards, or any other collectible for that matter? What about the parent that bought an Iphone for his kid, only to find out later it was a counterfeit? The list of examples is endless.
You're confusing the questions of whether it was a crime and what the actual harm was.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8546 Post by Jeff Leve » April 30th, 2020, 2:37 pm

First, I don’t think that was his point. However, for any fraud to have taken place, the victim would by necessity not be aware of the crime at the moment it took place. Certainly the law agrees else Rudi would not be in jail.

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8547 Post by Victor Hong » April 30th, 2020, 3:12 pm

Greg K wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 2:03 pm
Jeff Leve wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:58 pm
Jeff King wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:34 pm
Yet considering one subset of the victims, the economist in me comes out. Buyers who consumed the bottles they bought, and didn’t know the difference -- how much were they harmed?

Those who bought them to brag about possession, then satisfy their own palates, and get loaded with like-minded buddies -- they received that utility.
Sorry, but this is the craziest post I have seen in ages! From start to finish, your post is crazy. Because a person is wealthy, it is OK to fleece them? Seriously? And they buy these wines to get loaded? Where do you get these ideas?

According to you, a buyer of a forged work of art that didn't know he was taken is fine, because they thought the art was original? Purchasers of classic cars that are not what they were purported to be, got what they deserved because they didn't know? What about the collector buying baseball cards, or any other collectible for that matter? What about the parent that bought an Iphone for his kid, only to find out later it was a counterfeit? The list of examples is endless.
You're confusing the questions of whether it was a crime and what the actual harm was.
Perfect reason for robbing the graves and the estates of dead people. They will never know harm.
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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8548 Post by James Wright » April 30th, 2020, 4:24 pm

Jeff Leve wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:58 pm
Jeff King wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:34 pm
Yet considering one subset of the victims, the economist in me comes out. Buyers who consumed the bottles they bought, and didn’t know the difference -- how much were they harmed?

Those who bought them to brag about possession, then satisfy their own palates, and get loaded with like-minded buddies -- they received that utility.
Sorry, but this is the craziest post I have seen in ages! From start to finish, your post is crazy. Because a person is wealthy, it is OK to fleece them? Seriously? And they buy these wines to get loaded? Where do you get these ideas?

According to you, a buyer of a forged work of art that didn't know he was taken is fine, because they thought the art was original? Purchasers of classic cars that are not what they were purported to be, got what they deserved because they didn't know? What about the collector buying baseball cards, or any other collectible for that matter? What about the parent that bought an Iphone for his kid, only to find out later it was a counterfeit? The list of examples is endless.
my dear fellow, the question – of a rather numinous nature – is to what extent the putative sin of acquisitiveness deserves punishment from the Cosmick authorities...

one might opine that there are certain personalities whose avaricious reach far exceeds their aesthetic grasp – n’est-ce pas/nicht wahr?
~ Verteidiger der Wahrheit ~

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Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8549 Post by AD Northup » April 30th, 2020, 4:28 pm

James Wright wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 4:24 pm
Jeff Leve wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:58 pm
Jeff King wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:34 pm
Yet considering one subset of the victims, the economist in me comes out. Buyers who consumed the bottles they bought, and didn’t know the difference -- how much were they harmed?

Those who bought them to brag about possession, then satisfy their own palates, and get loaded with like-minded buddies -- they received that utility.
Sorry, but this is the craziest post I have seen in ages! From start to finish, your post is crazy. Because a person is wealthy, it is OK to fleece them? Seriously? And they buy these wines to get loaded? Where do you get these ideas?

According to you, a buyer of a forged work of art that didn't know he was taken is fine, because they thought the art was original? Purchasers of classic cars that are not what they were purported to be, got what they deserved because they didn't know? What about the collector buying baseball cards, or any other collectible for that matter? What about the parent that bought an Iphone for his kid, only to find out later it was a counterfeit? The list of examples is endless.
my dear fellow, the question – of a rather numinous nature – is to what extent the putative sin of acquisitiveness deserves punishment from the Cosmick authorities...

one might opine that there are certain personalities whose avaricious reach far exceeds their aesthetic grasp – n’est-ce pas/nicht wahr?
[rofl.gif]
A n d r e w N o r t h u p

2020 WsOTY:

2015 Roses de Jeanne / Cédric Bouchard Champagne Blanc de Noirs La Presle (#1)
1954 Fontanafredda Barbaresco
2015 Ultramarine BdB

2019 WsOTY:
1994 Edmunds St. John Les Côtes Sauvages
2016 P. S. Garcia Grenache Piedra Lisa
2002 Perrier-Jouet Belle Époque
2005 Faja dos Padres Malvasia

Greg K
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Location: New York

Re: RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

#8550 Post by Greg K » April 30th, 2020, 6:18 pm

Jeff Leve wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 2:37 pm
First, I don’t think that was his point. However, for any fraud to have taken place, the victim would by necessity not be aware of the crime at the moment it took place. Certainly the law agrees else Rudi would not be in jail.
First, that's quite clearly his point. Second (?), the question, again, is not whether fraud occurred, but whether the defrauded parties were really harmed. It is fraud, there is no argument about that.
Greg Kahn

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