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"It's Burgundy, and Sometimes Shit Happens" Rudy KURNIAWAN May Go To Jail For 100 Years



: Rudy KURNIAWAN (left) and friends he hosted to a dinner and vertical tasting of Screaming Eagle (1992 to 1999) in July 2003 in Los Angeles. The Indonesian has been charged for understating his liabilities by US$11 million; double pledging artwork as security; and, selling fake wines.


"My father didn't begin to produce our Clos St-Denis until 1982. So how could the bottles say 1945, 1949, 1959, 1962, 1966 and 1971?" Laurent PONSOT.


In the Acker Merrall & Condit catalogue of the 25 April 2008 sale in New York, the wines were stated to be consigned from 'The Cellar'. In fact, John KAPON, auctioneer and president, even boasted "I can safely say that when it comes to old Roumier, old Rousseau, and old Ponsot, there is one place to go: 'THE' Cellar'". 'The Cellar' turned out to be Rudy Kurniawan. This photo is a more recent one of John Kapon conducting a sale at the Island Shangri-la Hong Kong.


Thousands of printed wine labels, including Petrus, Chateau Lafleur, Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau Latour and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti were found by the FBI in the Los Angeles home of Rudy Kurniawan.



Were dozens of lots of Burgundy allegedly from the famed Domaine de la Romanee-Conti withdrawn (because of suspicious labels and capsules), supplied by Rudy Kurniawan? The bottles were scheduled to be auctioned on 8 February 2012 by London wine merchant Vanquish and California auction house Spectrum

Story By Ch'ng Poh Tiong

America's Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested and charged Rudy KURNIAWAN on 8 March 2012 in California with five counts of fraud.

These include trying to defraud a finance company in connection with a US$3 million loan (understating his liabilities by US$11 million); trying to defraud a New York auction house by double pledging artwork as security for millions of dollars of loans; and, trying to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars of fake wines in New York and London.

One of the charges concerns the Indonesian passing off 84 bottles of wine purporting to be from Domaine Ponsot of Burgundy.

That auction by Acker Merrall & Condit took place on 25 April 2008 at the Cru restaurant in New York. Half-way through the auction, John KAPON, the auctioneer and president of Acker Merrall & Condit, make the unusual announcement that 22 lots of Burgundy Grand Crus identified in the catalogue as rarities from Domaine Ponsot of Morey-Saint-Denis (estimated to fetch US$603,000) were being withdrawn "at the request of the domaine and with the consent of the consignor".

Six of the lots were vintages of Clos St-Denis: 1945, 1949, 1959, 1962, 1966 and 1971.

"CLOS DE LA ROCHE 1929 ... IS IMPOSSIBLE"

Laurent PONSOT, the fourth generation owner of the domaine, was at the auction and speaking to the Wine Spectator magazine after that, said, "My father, Jean-Marie, didn't begin to produce our Clos St-Denis until 1982. So how could the bottles say 1945, 1949, 1959, 1962, 1966 and 1971?"

Perhaps even more damning for the auction house was a lot of four bottles of Clos de la Roche with the Domaine Ponsot label which included a 1929.

"My grandfather, Hippolyte, would have made that wine but he did not begin estate bottling until 1934. So a Clos de la Roche from 1929 from our domaine is impossible," Laurent Ponsot informed.

Incredibly, on the page facing the photo of the bottles, the Acker Merrall & Condit auction catalogue even stated that estate bottling at Domaine Ponsot only started in 1934. Don't these guys read their own stuff?

The 22 withdrawn lots of Domaine Ponsot wines were just 71 lots from a trio of highly sought-after Burgundy domaines, the other two being Armand Rousseau and Georges Roumier.

JOHN KAPON - "ONE PLACE TO GO: THE CELLAR"

In the Acker Merrall & Condit catalogue, the wines were stated to be consigned from 'The Cellar'. In fact, John Kapon even boasted "I can safely say that when it comes to old Roumier, old Rousseau, and old Ponsot, there is one place to go: 'THE' Cellar'".

'The Cellar' turned out to be Rudy Kurniawan, who was present at the auction on that spring day on Friday 25 April 2008.

Asked after the sale as to the owner of the wines, the illegal alien would only say, "We try our best to get it right, but it's Burgundy, and sometimes shit happens."

After the arrest on 8 March 2012, FBI agents searched Kurniawan's home in Los Angeles and discovered the following: • Thousands of printed wine labels to many of the most expensive wines in the world, such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Petrus and Chateau Lafleur.
• Hundreds of corks, foil wrappers used to cover corks, and wax used to seal corks.
• Scores of rubber stamps for vintages, names of wineries, and other identifying features found on wine bottles.
• Glue, stencils, special scissors that cut paper in the particular pattern of certain wine labels.
• A mechanical device used to insert corks into wine bottles.
• Scores of bottles in the preparatory stages of being converted into counterfeit bottles, such as bottles without labels, bottles with inconsistent labeling (for example, bottles with counterfeit labels attached but some of the authentic labels still on the bottle because they had not yet been removed by Kurniawan).
• Bottles of moderately priced California wine with writing on the bottles indicating that the California wines would be used to pass as expensive Bordeaux wines.
• Bottles soaking in the kitchen sink to aid in the removal of the wine labels.

If Kurniawan, 35, is found guilty of all the charges, the Indonesian faces a maximum of 100 years imprisonment.
















































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