Tang sues LA lawyer for libel over ‘fake’ DRC

15th October, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

Hong Kong’s former chief secretary Henry Tang has filed a lawsuit against LA lawyer Don Cornwell after he challenged the authenticity of DRC Tang put up for auction.

Henry Tang

Simon Tam of Christie’s leads the Henry Tang auction held in Hong Kong this March

As reported by the Wine Spectator, Tang filed the writ at Hong Kong’s High Court on 17 September.

Tang is suing Cornwell for libel, alleging that a letter he wrote to Christie’s questioning three lots of Burgundy consigned by Tang to a two-day sale put on by the auction house in Hong Kong last March “injured” his reputation.

Cornwell wrote to both Christie’s and the FBI before the auction stating that three lots in the sale were “problematic”. He also raised the subject on online wine message board Wine Berserkers.

One of the disputed lots: 1978 DRC Montrachet

One of the disputed lots: 1978 DRC Montrachet

The lots included a Methuselah of 1971 La Tâche, a three-bottle lot of 1959 Romanée-Conti and a case of 1978 Montrachet.

“It has come to my attention that Mr Tang purchased a number of the bottles in his collection from Richard Torin of Clarets in Santa Barbara. I am told that Mr Torin has at all material times been the single largest customer of Antonio Castanos.

“Mr Castanos acted as a wholesaler for wines supplied by Rudy Kurniawan. That should give Christie’s and Mr Tang considerable concern especially as there are relatively few photographs in your catalog,” Cornwell said in a statement to the auction house.

Indonesian-born wine collector Rudy Kurniawan is due to stand trail in New York in December two counts of wine fraud.

“Henry Tang wanted a public apology from me. But that would be an acknowledgment of fault, and I believe what I wrote is correct,” Cornwell told the Wine Spectator.

“I did nothing wrong and I certainly do not think that Henry Tang deliberately engaged in selling counterfeit wines,” he added.

Tang hit out at the claims at the time, dubbing them “unsubstantiated and false”.

“It has come to my attention that there were some allegations against a tiny part of my wine collection that was put to Christie’s for auction recently.

“These allegations are totally unsubstantiated and false. It is hardly convincing for anyone who purports to know wine just by looking at the labels without going into their provenance,” Tang said in a statement.

The La Tâche was withdrawn from the auction as “a precautionary measure”. The two-day auction brought in US$6.2 million.

CORRECTION: This article was updated on 7 November to clarify comments made by Don Cornwell regarding the origin of a number of the wines put up for sale at the Christie’s auction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

On-Trade Channel Manager

Delegat Europe Limited (UK)
London / Midlands, GB

Trade Marketing Analyst

Delegat Europe (UK)
London, GB

Key Account Executive

Delegat Europe Limited (UK)
London / Midlands, GB

Senior National Account Manager

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

ON-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

OFF-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

Judging Week Runners

Decanter World Wine Awards
ExCel Centre, London E16, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

Retail Commercial Executive

Laithwaite's Wine
Theale, Berkshire

Wine Buyer

Conviviality Plc
Crewe, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Liverpool

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
M3/M4 corridor

Media Sales Manager - Hong Kong

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Regional Account Manager

New Generation McKinley
London, UK

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 24th February 2017

The Prosecco Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th March 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 3rd March 2017

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters

The Global Rosé Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the launch of the Global Rosé Masters 2016.

The Prosecco Masters 2016

Now in its third year, the competition will reflect the growth in popularity of this fresh and exciting sparkling wine from the picturesque regions of Veneto and Friuli.

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2016

After the success of last year’s competition that judged over 250 wines from no less than 16 countries, the drinks business is proud to announce the third year of the Global Pinot Noir Masters

Click to view more