via: The Independent. An internationally renowned German violin dealer nicknamed "Mr Stradivarius" for his unmatched expertise in the antique instruments was jailed for six years by an Austrian court yesterday after being convicted of practising large scale fraud and embezzlement over decades.
Dietmar Machold, 63, a once-wealthy Austrian celebrity businessman and society host, was convicted of swindling creditors out of an estimated €100m (£79.8m) by using an assortment of real and faked Stradivarius violins to dupe them into bogus transactions.
State prosecutors at the Vienna court, where Machold was sentenced yesterday, said the accused had adopted the practice of using expensive antique violins as collateral for large bank loans instead of selling them for his customers as he had promised to do.
Prosecutors said they also assumed that Machold had underwritten documents testifying to the authenticity of alleged Stradivarius violins, and had sold off the faked instruments at grossly inflated prices.
However, prosecutors said they required the evidence of one of Machold's co-accused to confirm their suspicions that he had faked authenticity certificates for the violins. The co-accused has been unable to stand trial because of illness, and judges said any further convictions were dependent on his ability to attend.