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A Chinese wine counterfeiter has been sentenced to five years in prison and fined the equivalent of 32,000 euros. He confessed to having filled and sold 786 bottles of branded wine with counterfeit labels, including Petrus and Château Lafite Rothschild as well as its second wine Carruades de Lafite. The police confiscated hundreds of bottles of branded wine and empty bottles, as well as aluminium capsules and bottling machines. The fraudster and two of his associates had set up a veritable counterfeiting ring between March 2020 and November 2021.

The Chinese People's Court convicted the man of trademark infringement and publicised the case during China's National Intellectual Property Week. It hopes to raise consumer awareness of the dangers of buying renowned wines from unverified sources. Fraudsters repeatedly try to sell counterfeit wines at slightly lower prices than reputable licensed dealers. They claim that the wines are smuggled but genuine. A genuine bottle of Petrus costs the equivalent of around 6,400 euros in China.

Since 2020, the Chinese law enforcement authorities have been taking tougher action against wine counterfeiters. In January 2023, for example, 40,000 counterfeit wine bottles, including Lafite and Penfolds, with a black market value of more than 130 million euros were discovered during a raid in Fujian province.

(al / Source: Decanter and others)

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