The Straits Times
Published on Nov 10, 2012

Major player in expensive violins convicted of fraud


VIENNA (AFP) - Dietmar Machold, one of the world's foremost dealers in rare and expensive violins until his firm went bankrupt in 2010, has been sentenced in Austria to six years in jail for fraud.

"You played big and lost big," Presiding Judge Claudia Moravec-Loidolt told the Vienna court on Friday. "But you showed willingness to accept the responsibility."

At the height of his career, the German-born Machold lived in a castle and arranged the sales of violins worth millions of dollars made by Antonio Stradivari and other famed masters to clients around the world.

Arrested in Switzerland last year and extradited to Austria, the 63-year-old's crimes included embezzling money from clients and obtaining loans from banks using violins he did not own as collateral.