Kurniawan loses appeal against conviction

Rows of wine bottles in rackRudy Kurniawan has been unsuccessful in an appeal against his conviction for producing and selling counterfeit wines.

A US appeals court upheld Kurniawan's 2013 conviction and 10-year jail sentence, rejecting assertions by his counsel that evidence uncovered from his home - without a warrant - should not have been used to build the prosecution case.

The court also dismissed an attempt by Kurniawan's lawyers to have the length of his jail term reduced on the grounds that it was unreasonably long. At the time of his conviction, they had tried to argue that he should serve only the two-and-a-half years already spent in jail since his arrest.

Kurniawan will be deported to his native Indonesia after serving his sentence, and has also been ordered to pay $28.4m in restitution to his seven victims on top of the $20m forfeit.

Kurniawan was convicted last December in the first federal prosecution for wine fraud brought by the US federal authorities, after a trial which heard he had faked bottles of rare and vintage Bordeaux and Burgundy wines at his home in Arcadia.

He blended lower-priced wines so that they would mimic the taste and character of expensive vintages, poured his creations into empty genuine bottles that he procured from various sources. He then created a finished product by sealing the bottles with corks and outfitting them with counterfeit wine labels he created.

In October, around 500 bottles of the counterfeit wine was destroyed by US Marshals in Texas. A few weeks earlier Kurniawan's collection of genuine vintage wines - validated by experts and numbering more than 4,700 bottles - was put up for auction.

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