Five-Year Jail Term for Chinese Fraudster Involved in Counterfeiting Lafite and Petrus Wines

By | 4 May 2024

Qi Moudao was also fined 250,000 yuan (£27,500) after he admitted to illegally bottling fake wines from prestigious Bordeaux châteaux.

During the raid, police confiscated hundreds of bottles of branded wine, along with empty bottles, aluminium caps and bottling machines.

Officers found that 33 of the counterfeit bottles were labelled as either Petrus, Château Lafite Rothschild or Pomerol.

Another 29 bottles were branded as Carruades de Lafite 2017, which is the second wine of the famous First Growth estate in Pauillac.

The authorities have verified the authenticity of the wines and quickly determined that they were counterfeits. The investigation revealed that Qi was in collaboration with Zhou Moubin and Qi Mouxi, who were also fraudsters, in the setting up of the counterfeit scheme that started in March 2020 and ended in November 2021.

The Beijing Tongzhou District People’s Court ruled that his actions were a serious case of trademark infringement, hence, the five-year prison sentence. Qi did not make an appeal against the decision.

The court decided to disclose the case details to coincide with the National Intellectual Property Week in China. The aim is to increase customer awareness about the risks associated with buying highly reputable wines from sources that are not verified.

Officials have revealed that the manufacturing cost for the counterfeit wines was low. In Mainland China, a bottle of Petrus sells for more than 50,000 yuan (£5,500), which provides a clear financial motivating factor for fraudsters to continue these scams.

The lawbreakers attempt to market these vintages at somewhat lesser costs than authorized, credible sellers, asserting that they are lawful, albeit they have been smuggled in.

In the year 2020, the wine council of Bordeaux announced a significant triumph in its fight against imitations in China, courtesy of the local authorities.

Chinese legal enforcement bodies have accelerated their attempts to tackle forgery wines since that time, with numerous significant arrests over the recent years.

A raid in Fujian province occurred in January 2023, revealing 40,000 counterfeit bottles of vino, encompassing Lafite and Penfolds, with a ‘street worth’ surpassing £120m.

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