In May of 2016, the first long time documentary about one of the most astonishing frauds of the recent history was released. The viewer falls from one surprise into the next when watching the re-telling of this fascinating story of how one man was able to deceive an entire business segment with a worth of millions of dollars.
Rudy Kurniawan rose to fame in the wine industry in 2006 and became a popular guest at parties and gatherings. Since 2000 he had been buying and selling wines and was known for having one of the best wine cellars ever. In 2006 he made a deal with auction house Acker, based in New York, which until then was a struggling company. The deal consisted of the auction house auctioning a large part of Kurniawan’s wines, and both the auction house and Kurniawan gained publicity by the occasion.
The documentary tells Rudy’s story of his fame and fortune days and shows how one of his buyers, his lawyer and a French wine maker started to investigate the descent of Kurniawan’s wines. Their early discoveries of things that didn’t add up concerning Kurniawan and the origin of his wines apparently weren’t enough to spark doubts among the public. Rudy was able to go about his merry way for four more years, before his facades fell through.
Finally, the net closed in on the golden boy of wine business in 2012, with several things coming to light explaining the riches of his wine cellar. However, many things about Kurniawan’s swindling business remain a mystery, and it leaves the viewer wondering whether the ten year prison sentence for his fraudulent business is actually justified.
All in all, this documentary is a must-see and not only for wine aficionados. Kurniawan’s expertise and brilliance knew no bounds and made him a fraud of worldly caliber. It is really quite extraordinary how an entire business segment full of the most intelligent and expert people could be so easily bamboozled.