Koch wins battle of wine billionaires

Bill Koch's crusade against wine auction fakes has ended in a $12M legal victory over Eric Greenburg.

A jury has awarded the Florida billionaire Bill Koch $12m in his long-running dispute over phony vintage wine. Vowing to do more to expose wine frauds, Koch proclaimed the court win on Friday to be his happiest day since winning the America's Cup in 1992.

"Out of sight. Over the moon," he said as he described his feelings after emerging, giggling with glee, from a courtroom in US District Court in Manhattan. "We weren't even expecting any damages and we got $12m. Unbelievable."

(See Biggest wine hoax in history reveals trade secrets)

The verdict went against the businessman Eric Greenberg, who insisted that he had not intentionally sold a fake bottle of wine in auctions that generated about $42m for him over an eight-year period. The trial involved alleged that counterfeit bottles of Bordeaux were labeled as if they were made from 1864 to 1950. In a statement, Greenberg called the verdict "a disappointment because I believed all the consigned wine to be authentic.”

Koch's lawyer, John Hueston, suggested that a criminal investigation of Greenberg was underway, saying: "We're co-operating with the FBI." He declined to elaborate.

For more, see: Billionaire William Koch wins $12m in courtroom wine fraud battle

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