Billionaire William Koch was awarded $12 million after he unknowingly bought 24 bottles of fake wine at auction.
A Manhattan jury ruled that businessman Eric Greenberg sold Koch two dozen bottles of phony brew the billionaire believed to be vintage. In addition to getting his money back, Koch was also awarded $380,000 in damages.
The billionaire said he was “over the moon” that the jury awarded him $12 million in the case. Greenberg said he intends to appeal the decision.
The Oxbow Group founder and America’s Cup winner said that Greenberg knowingly sold him fake wine during a Zachys auction back in 2005. The billionaire said that he hoped the ruling would shine some light on the “code of silence” in the industry.
Eric Greenberg testified that none of the wine taken from his collection was fake. He believes that something must have happened to the bottles on the way to the auction.
Experts for the prosecution and defense agreed that one of the bottles was counterfeit. Although some experts said the labels were copies of the originals, none of the bottles were opened or tasted. However, a jury would later rule that Greenberg sold the billionaire fake wine.
“Clearly, the verdict is a disappointment because I believed all the consigned wine to be authentic,” Greenberg said in a statement after the ruling. “We believe that we acted honorably and tried to do the right thing for all concerned.”
The businessman added that he attempted to refund William Koch the money he paid for the wine after he learned that he had problems with his purchase. Greenberg’s attorney argued that the bottles had been purchased “as is.” This means that Koch accepted the bottles in the condition they were in at the time they were sold.
Are you surprised that billionaire William Koch was awarded $12 million in his wine dispute with Eric Greenberg?
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