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CAUTION! You are buying wines that do not exist!

For almost two years now, I have been watching a dubious seller who has listed wines in the 6-digit range on eBay, who offers me and other renowned traders the finest wines and who is known to the LKA and the public prosecutor's office. The files fill several folders and yet he goes on blithely. Under different names, he also offers top wines from Lafite Rothschild 1982 to larger quantities of Romanee Conti on Wein-Plus. Although Wein-Plus deletes these offers on the marketplace, the persistence of the ominous seller is remarkable. He constantly tries to offer wines with new names.

Lafite, Latour, Romaneé Conti at bargain prices

Since August 2008, Mr. X (name known to the editors) has been selling high-quality wines on eBay. At the beginning of 2009, a bottle of Lafite 1982 was offered under the eBay name "frenchwines1". A German wine connoisseur bought this bottle and paid for it. The seller was a Melissa Teres in 5020 Salzburg and the amount was transferred to an account at the Kärntner Sparkasse. The German buyer, Mr K., received the bottle and was horrified to discover that the label was fake. It got even worse, because when Mr. K. removed the capsule, the year 1984 became visible on the cork. The price difference between the two Lafite vintages 1984 and 1982 is more than EUR 1000! I already reported the member "frenchwines1" to eBay at the beginning of the auction and after 2 days the account was blocked. Too late for Mr K. But in the meantime he filed a complaint with the German police. An offer to Mr. K. from a certain Gerald Lessiak in 1100 Vienna proves how active the alleged fraudster (the case was not yet closed at the time of going to press according to the public prosecutor's office in Klagenfurt) was at that time. The name and address were fictitious, only the account details were again the already known account at the Kärntner Sparkasse. Mr K. was supposed to transfer EUR 5000 to this account for 4 bottles of Lafite 1982. The client refused because of the knowledge he had gained in the meantime. As a member of "autoxpd07" Mr. X continued blithely to get the money of bona fide wine lovers.

Who is this Mr. X?

Mr. X is neither a wine insider nor a wine forger. The man behind all the large-scale eBay auctions is a 24-year-old unemployed person on unemployment assistance (equivalent to HartzIV recipients in Germany) from a middle-class background. He relabelled cheap vintages of high-quality wines with labels of very expensive vintages. He bought the labels on eBay, where they are sold in large quantities as souvenirs on eBay France or eBay Italy. I learned this from another injured party. On the seller list of autoxpd07's reviews, I discovered a member who had already bought wine from me. After a short e-mail contact, Mrs. H. from Luxembourg called me and told me about the purchase of a Mouton Rothschild 1945 for EUR 1343, under the capsule of which was a cork from the 1944 vintage. When making offers, Mr. X. tries to come across as a serious businessman, which is of course difficult due to his lack of insider information. People know each other in the business and every "newcomer" who suddenly wants to sell the creme de la creme among cult wines is carefully examined. The following original e-mail was sent to various wine merchants and rarity specialists in Germany known to me:

From: Yuri Shirkov (yuri_shirkov1@hotmail.com)
Date: 14 December 2009 18:40:03 CET
To: (info@w..........(Note: Name known to the editors)
Subject: RE: Domaine de la Romanee Conti - Romanee Conti

20.000 Euro for 12 bottles of DRC - RC 2005 in original OHK that would be like a Christmas present for you! The deals with your German colleagues went like this:
I pay the shipping costs and import tax.
The customer pays 50% in advance to my bank account, after receiving the money I confirm the receipt, then I ship the wines as stated to the customer at my expense and of course to the correct value! The remaining 50% of the total amount is paid by the customer after receiving the bottles and checking the customer.
You are welcome to ask your German wine colleagues and inquire about me.
If we could do the deal this way I would exceptionally sell the 12 bottles of DRC - RC 2005 for 20000 Euro!!!!!!!

Kind regards

Yuri Shirkov!

In February 2010, Mr.X. extended his field of activity to Switzerland as well. Using the same trick of references....of himself! In addition, he is currently sending fake purchase invoices and photos. A French trader confirmed the fake invoices and filed a complaint, warning all customers and naming Yuri Vislovich (another made-up name) as the originator of these fake offers.

It has been confirmed to me by Evinité that this fake invoice with several invented names is being sent to various traders and private persons as a reference for Mr. X. If you have also received an offer, please inform Wein-Plus or by e-mail to: info@weinbetrug.org

When all his accounts on Ebay were blocked, he tried to sell his imaginary bottles to traders, auction houses and precisely on online platforms such as Wein-Plus. Wein-Plus deletes all offers on the marketplace after learning that they are dubious offers. Among others, with the following freely invented names*, as determined by the criminal investigation department and the public prosecutor's office:

Name Email Wines offered
Stefan Heim stefan_heim62@hotmail.com Yquem collection 92 bottles at € 93.000.-, among others
Sabine Winterstein porscheboy1@hotmail.com Mouton Rothschild 1945, a.o.
Stanislaus Lipusch stan.lipusch@hotmail.com Lafite Rotschild 1982, a.o.
Melissa Teres stockerauerbaby@live.at
Gerald Lessiak gerald_lessiak@live.at Lafite Rothschild 1982Petrus 1990Petrus 2000Petrus 2005total: € 6.100.-
Andreas Wieser andreas_wieser@live.de Mouton Rothschild 1982 5-6 bottles
Alexandra Steiner alexa_steiner@live.at Mouton Rothschild 1982 5-6 bottles
Yuri Shirkov yuri_shirkov1@hotmail.com Assortment Romanee Conti to € 40.000.-
Michael Maurer porscheboy1@hotmail.com Lafite Rothschild 1982
Alexander Schneider alexanderschneider2010@hotmail.com 12s OHK Lafite Rothschild 1998
Franz Dreier franz.dreier@hotmail.de 2x Lafite Rothschild 1982 at € 1.600.-
Carsten Maschmeyer carsten.maschmeyer@live.de 2x Lafite Rothschild 1982
Heinz Müller heinzmueller2010@hotmail.com 2x Latour 1982 at € 1.500.-
Thomas Berger thomasberger11@hotmail.com 2x Lafite Rothschild 1982 + 1 x DRC 2005 at € 5.000.-

*The table is only meant to show what is possible without special examinations. The fact that consumers repeatedly transfer money to dubious sellers, even though the seller and account holder in this case never matched, is actually incomprehensible. But if you transfer thousands of euros for a possible inheritance (topic "Nigeria Connection"), as is well known, nothing surprises me anymore.

Injured parties want their rights

The investigations and the proceedings against Mr. X will show how many interested parties, who do not have the opportunity to inform themselves, have already paid again. Since the LKA and the public prosecutors' offices in Germany and Austria have been investigating since I filed my complaint in June 2009 and have questioned Mr. X several times, but he presents himself as a victim, it will probably take some time before the aggrieved parties get their rights. You, dear reader, will certainly find a continuation of the Causa Mr. X. in one of the next columns at Wein-Plus. Provided the authorities can conclude their investigations at some point.

So be careful if you see offers of high-quality wines with a freemail address.

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