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Wine fraudster fined £7.1m over ‘moon wines’

A Bordeaux wine producer has been jailed for two years and fined €8m (£7.1m) after being convicted of blending cheaper wines with higher-end Pomerol and St Emilion vintages, passing them off as the more prestigious label.

Marret passed blend cheap wines with higher-end vintages from St Emilion (pictured) and Pomerol.

Francois-Marie Marret, 55, who owns three château in the Gironde, was found to be running an illegal wine operation, blending poor quality wine with high-end Saint-Emilion, Pomerol and Listrac-Medocs to create ‘moon wines’ – so called because the operation to transport the fraudulent wines took place under cover of night.

The fake wines were then sold to retailers, including supermarket chains Auchan and Intermarche. Co-defendants in the case included a wine merchant, two wine brokers and three producers of lesser wines, according to The Guardian. 

Customs officials estimate that the scam generated nearly €800,000 from 2011 to 2012, when it was uncovered.

Marret has already said that he is planning to appeal the verdict and his sentence, which he described to be of “stunning severity” following the judgement in Bordeaux this week, calling the verdict, “completely abnormal”.

In total eight people were sentenced for their part in the scam. Co-defendant and wine merchant Vincent Lataste was given an 18-month suspended sentence and a £4,500 fine. His company was fined £27,000, of which half was suspended.

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