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Koch's $12M award in wine spat cut to $711K

  • Associated Press
  • April 1, 2014 - 7:45 AM

NEW YORK — A federal judge in Manhattan has cut the $12 million awarded to Florida billionaire William Koch (KOHK) in a counterfeit wine lawsuit to less than $1 million.

The judge described as "exorbitant" the punitive damages a jury awarded Koch against California businessman Eric Greenberg last year. He reduced the damages to $711,600.

The judge ruled Monday that the "the flagrancy of Greenberg's fraud" merited some award. But he said the "harm was economic in nature and none of its targets ... were financially vulnerable."

Koch accused Greenberg of knowingly selling him more than 24 bottles of fake Bordeaux at auction. Greenberg maintained he believed the wines were authentic.

According to the Daily News, a spokesman for Koch said the goal never was about money but to expose wine fraud.

© 2014 Star Tribune