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NY judge delays Indonesian wine dealer sentencing

Published on Jul 25, 2014 2:58 AM

NEW YORK (AFP) - A US judge on Thursday delayed until August 4 the sentencing of disgraced Indonesian wine dealer Rudy Kurniawan for manufacturing and selling fake vintages for millions of dollars.

Kurniawan, 37, was convicted last December of blending and selling hundreds of fake bottles of wine, as well as fraudulently obtaining a US$3 million loan.

US judge Richard Berman had been due to sentence the fraudster on Thursday, but delayed it a fourth time pending clarification on the number of victims and amount he defrauded them. Government prosecutors say he hoodwinked more than 10 victims out of more than US$20 million. The defence says the total amount is closer to US$8-9 million. The adjournment until August 4 allows the defence time to go over the government's report on the matter.

It has been an astonishingly fall from grace for a man once considered one of the top five wine collectors in the exclusive world of vintage wine, but who has no legal status in the United States. He built his success on an exceptional palate, capable of identifying and memorising the world's finest wines beloved by the richest people on the planet. But he was found guilty of defrauding buyers and collectors from 2004 through 2012 by selling counterfeit bottles of purportedly rare and expensive wine.

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