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Court warns Rodenstock to cooperate

Published:  23 July, 2008

Hardy Rodenstock, the German wine collector accused of selling counterfeit wine, may have a default judgement entered against him if he does not cooperate.

A US federal magistrate in New York warned him yesterday after Rodenstock, calling from abroad and claiming US courts lacked jurisdiction over him, told her: "I am getting out of this case".

He was sued last year by billionaire William Koch, who claims the "con artist" fraudulently promoted a collection of wine bottles that purportedly belonged to former US president Thomas Jefferson. After the bottles were sold to a second party, Koch bought four of them for $500,000 in 1998.

Magistrate Debra Freeman told Rodenstock that if discovery went forward and he continued to refuse to cooperate, he could be sanctioned, including having a default judgement entered against him, which would mean he would not be able to contest his liability.

She have him two weeks to respond and said if he did not appear in court a judge would set damages based solely on Koch's testimony.