An international group of counterfeiters sold at least 400 bottles of fake Romanee-Conti wine, one of the world’s most expensive, for at least 2 million euros ($2.7 million), French prosecutors said.
Seven people were arrested after raids on 20 residences and depots in various European Union countries, and more suspects are being pursued, the Dijon prosecutor’s office said in a statement. French police seized 69 bottles in France, and tests showed a blend of poor quality wine in fake bottles, the prosecutor’s office said.
“The contents of the examined bottles were a mediocre wine with very poor flavor and quality composed of blends of undetermined origins,” it said.
The apparent ringleaders, an Italian father-and-son team of wine merchants, were arrested by Italian police, and French authorities are seeking their extradition. The offense carries a maximum prison time of 10 years, according to the statement.
Romanee-Conti, based in Vosne Romanee in Burgundy, produces about 6,000 bottles a year of its pinot noir red wine, according to the statement. Prices of its 2008 and 2009 vintages can reach 9,000 euros a bottle, it said.
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