PARIS, March 25 (AFP) – Belgian wine merchant Khaled Rouabah was given a year’s suspended prison sentence and fined EUR 300,000 (USD 364,000) Thursday after being convicted in a Paris court of substituting century-old classic Bordeaux vintages with inferior wine from the 1960s.
Rouabah, 45, was found guilty of counterfeiting and fraud for trying to sell 360 bottles of 1900 Chateau Margaux and Chateau Lafite which he said he had found by chance in a wine-cellar he had acquired in Belgium.
Scientific evidence showed that the bottles – some of which went at auction for EUR 3,000 each – had in fact been filled with wine produced more than 60 years later.
At the hearing in February Rouabah told the court that all he had done was “re-condition” the bottles with small amounts of later vintages – a practice he said is current in the chateaux of the Bordeaux wine-producing region of southwest France.
Subject: France news