Alleged wine fraudster Kurniawan pleads not guilty

on 11/04/13 at 10:40 am

Booze News

a1Alleged wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan has pleaded not guilty in a US court to a two-count indictment charging him with schemes to sell fake wines and defraud a finance company out of £2m.

Indonesian-born Kurniawan entered his plea in a federal court in New York yesterday after prosecutors filed a new indictment that updated existing charges against him.

During the session, judge Richard Berman set a tentative trial date of 9 September, though this is likely to be put backwards as important prosecution witnesses may not be able to addend at that time as it falls during the harvest.

“That’s the time like tax week for accountants, that’s their busy time,” lead prosecutor Jason Hernandez told AFP.

Kurniawan, 36, was brought into court wearing a beige detention center uniform. According to the Wine Spectator, he looked “thinner and paler” than usual.

The indictment against him reads: “Kurniawan rose to become one of the most prominent and prolific dealers in the US of purportedly rare and expensive wine.

“Turning his California home into a counterfeit wine laboratory, Kurniawan mixed and blended lower-priced wines so that they would mimic the taste and character of rare and far more expensive wines then created a finished product by sealing the bottles with corks and by outfitting the bottles with counterfeit wine labels.”

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