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Investigators seize 10,000 bottles of fake wine in raid on two companies

2011/08/24 23:30:15

Taipei, Aug. 24 (CNA) Prosecutors raided an international food company and a local factory in New Taipei City on Wednesday and seized 10,000 bottles of allegedly fake red wine, according to investigators.

The drink, made from concentrated grape juice and various chemicals, was being fraudulently labeled and sold as a prestigious brand of imported red wine, investigators said.

The local company's factory boss was detained for questioning, said the Tainan branch of the Investigation Bureau, which initiated the investigation based on complaints from consumers six months ago.

The consumers reported that a company in New Taipei City was using its legal status as a red wine importer to sell cheap fake wine to distributors, the bureau branch said.

Investigators found that from March 2009 to the present, the international company made more than NT$27 million (US$ 930,392) in profits from the sale of fake wine, it said.

In 2007, the international food company was importing a reputable brand of red wine from Australia, but soon began producing a fake version of the wine under the original label, which constituted fraud, the Tainan office of the Investigation Bureau said.

The international company commissioned a Taiwanese wine technology company in New Taipei City to manufacture the fake red wine from concentrated grape juice and chemicals, investigators said.

The fake wine was sold to retail chain stores at price of NT$ 200 per 750- milliliter bottle, but it actually cost only several tens of NT dollars, according to investigators.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether the international company had other sales channels.

(By Yang Sz-ruei and C.J. Lin)
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