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Trio including Chinese painter charged in US over $41m art scam

Published on Apr 22, 2014 11:17 AM

NEW YORK (AFP) - Three men were charged on Monday in New York in connection with a US$33 million (S$41 million) scam over two decades making and selling paintings purportedly by world-famous artists but which were in fact fakes.

Among the bogus works were pieces supposedly by Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock and sold to unsuspecting collectors for tens of millions of dollars.

Among the trio was Chinese painter Pei Shen Qian, 75, who allegedly made the forgeries and is believed to have fled to China. Among other allegations, he is charged with lying to FBI agents investigating the fraud.

Brothers Jesus Angel Bergantinos Diaz, 65, and Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz, 58, were arrested last week in Spain, said federal prosecutors.

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