Wine counterfeiter deported from the USA

After seven years of imprisonment, Rudy Kurniawan will be returned to his home country Indonesia.

In 2016, Netflix released Rudy Kurniawan's story under the title "Sour Grapes" / Credit: Netflix
In 2016, Netflix released Rudy Kurniawan's story under the title "Sour Grapes" / Credit: Netflix

The USA has finally deported the well-known wine forger Rudy Kurniawan. As numerous media report, the 44-year-old was brought from Dallas to Jakarta last week.

Kurniawan, who was born in Indonesia, had come to the USA as a student and initially had the legal right to residence on a student visa, but he then stayed in the country illegally. Probably with the help of the family fortune, he made a name for himself in wine collecting circles, bought supposedly high-quality bottles, and made trades with them, with some deals worth tens of millions of dollars. Among others, he raved about the wines of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which earned him the nickname "Dr. Conti."

Then, in 2012, his swindle was exposed: As FBI investigators discovered during a house search, the man did not trade in high-quality wines. He virtually "produced" them himself by putting fake labels on fake wines. Numerous empty bottles and corks were seized. Kurniawan is said to have blended his fake wines from old and new vintages.

Over the years, his fake wines repeatedly appeared at different auction houses, which always took them out of circulation. In 2015, about 500 bottles of fake wine were destroyed by the authorities in Texas.

In 2013, Kurniawan was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay $28.4 million in restitution to seven victims. His deportation follows his release after serving his sentence.

His story has become so famous worldwide that Netflix made a film of his story in 2016. The documentary was appropriately titled "Sour Grapes." aw

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