Billionaire Koch brother wins $12.38 million bad wine verdict

April 13, 2013 at 10:06 PM
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NEW YORK, Minn., April 13 (UPI) -- A New York jury this week awarded oil industry billionaire William Koch $12.38 million in damages in his beef with Internet mogul Eric Greenberg over bad wine.

The jury said Koch deserves $12 million in punitive damages on top of the $380,000 in compensatory damages he was awarded a day earlier, the New York Daily News reported.

Koch went to court after two dozen bottles of Bordeaux he bought from Greenberg for $300,000 turned out to be undrinkable fakes.

"Out of sight, over the moon," Koch said upon leaving the courthouse while clinching one of the wine bottles, a purported magnum of 1921 Chateau Petrus he paid $29,500 for in 2005.

Koch said he would use his award money "set up a fund to go after wine fraud and auction fraud."

"There's been a huge code of silence in this industry," he said. "My whole point is to shine a bright light on it. The perpetrators are now warned and there are now serious consequences."

The Daily News said Greenberg spent $5 million defending himself He said Koch had rejected his offer of a refund back in 2007 and found the jury's decision "disappointing."

"I'm sorry the wines I sold Mr. Koch were counterfeit," Greenberg said. "I thought they were real."

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