Counterfeit Romanee Conti – suspects held

It is considered as arguably one of the most prestigious and expensive wine in the world. Romanee Conti has existed since the late 18th century, named after it’s former owner, Louis Francois 1st of Bourbon, Prince of Conti. It is currently owned by Aubert de Villain. The “micro” estate is only 1.8 hectares or 5 acres and produces between 5000 and 6000 bottles of the precious nectar per year. Prices are very high – around 8000 euros for a 2009 vintage.
At the end of 2012, several counterfeit bottles were seen on the market. The wine did not correspond to the label and tests concluded that the wine was not Romanee Conti but a poor quality counterfeit wine.
Police investigating found a wine merchant group, based in Italy, behind the fraud. The Dijon Prosecutor decided to open a judicial enquiry into the fraud and an Italian father and son are being questioned. They risk up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
On the 16th October, collaboration between members of Eurojust and Europol allowed searches in twenty houses throughout Europe. 7 suspects are being held and similar packaging to that used on the counterfeit Romanee Conti bottles was found at the house belonging to one of the Italian suspects. Although the exact number of counterfeit bottles bottles produced remains unknown, at least 400 are said to had been sold on the market for the sum of roughly 2 millions euros!

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