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Nice article.

So if I understood it correctly, it all started with Roger introducing poor Dietmar to that den of iniquity that is the London auction scene :)

Rob

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Nice article.

So if I understood it correctly, it all started with Roger introducing poor Dietmar to that den of iniquity that is the London auction scene :)

Rob

I must hold up my hands and admit it. I did indeed take him to his first auctions in London. It started in 1981 I think. He bought me a suit, shoes, a tie and a shirt in Oxford street before we went in. He was ashamed of the clothes that I was wearing. I always went in jeans back then. AND although the only things that I have ever bought at auctions have been books, I do love them. Where else can you turn over a Picasso or a Degas or handle a Strad or an Amati, or a piece of Japanese pottery or English silver? They are the best free galleries in town. But as I said I have never bought anything but books at auctions, and for the record I have never bought or sold any violins but my own. For a man with such clean morals I certainly started a huge avalanche of dirt.

PS I clean my morals every day, three times after meals.

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He bought me a suit, shoes, a tie and a shirt

Sounds like you got a good deal, but judging from the auctions I've been to, youd've stuck out like a sore thumb dressed like that.

AND although the only things that I have ever bought at auctions have been books, I do love them.

Ooooh, I've got something in common with Roger Hargrave.

I only stick to books though, because I can tell them apart. Unfortunately I don't have quite the same confidence with the violins. I've also been to enough auctions, and seen enough dealers at work there, to know that the odds are stacked against me.

Rob

PS. I'm glad you keep you morals so clean. I must get mine out and clean them one day, if only I could remember where I put them?

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Sounds like you got a good deal, but judging from the auctions I've been to, youd've stuck out like a sore thumb dressed like that.

roger allways used to remind me of the chimpanzees in the PG Tips adverts when he wore that suit

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Wouldn't it be a riot if Machold were to open a Maestronet account and post replies here? Any way to arrange this, Jacob? I know you two are close.

Willkommen, Dietmar!

Dietmars lawyer certainly reads maestronet, 'cos he had printed out some choice Saunders quotes to confront me with when he questioned me in court today

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This article was in the Standard Vienna yesterday, I#m afraid I didn't notice it

http://derstandard.at/1347492909849/Neue-Anklage-im-Geigenprozess

New Charges in Violin Trial

18. September 2012, 19:50

The trial against Machold starts with an extension of the charges

Starting on Wednesday in the courtroom No. 203 in the Viennese Criminal Court, things will revolve as usual around a lot of money, and less often around valuable Stradivaris. Violin Dealer, Dietmar Machold will have to answer for his dealing Façon. The first charge accuses him of serious fraud, insolvency irregularities and embezzlement in regard to 4,7 million Euros. Alongside the ex-lord of the castle, old-timer and camera collector in front of Judge Claudia Moravec-Loidolto are the other three defendants, two of whom are accused of aiding and abetting the insolvency irregularities. The amount that they are accused of hiding from the creditors is, according to the charges, 1,2 million Euros. The Standard emphasises that all are innocent until proven guilty.

The Public Prossecutor accuses Machold, amongst other things, of multiple selling of instruments. In this concrete case it concerns a Stradivari from 1727, valued at 1,7 million Euros. According to the prosecution, a “not unsubstantial part of Machold’s business was of a purely virtual character”. His customers could console themselves in “the aura of the rich globe-trotting gentleman, in which he surrounded himself”

That is but a part of the accusations, with which Machold must confront himself, since, shortly before the start of the trial, on 5th. September, the Public Prosecutor extended the list of accusations, since Tuesday these extensions are in legal force.

Once again a Stradivari plays the leading role, this time the “Leonardo da Vinci” of 1725. She comes into play via a credit that Machold took out in March 2008. According to the accusations of the bank, he pledged the instrument at a valuation of 5,5 million as collateral for a loan of 1,7 million. He never repaid the credit, and the pledged violin, which was in the ownership of the bank, never found its way back. This detail being sued by the Bank Austria/Giro Credit(gra, DER STANDARD, 19.9.2012)

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http://derstandard.at/1347493023594/Geigenhaendler-Ich-war-entweder-arm-oder-reich

The M. Story in tomorrows Vienna paper:

Violn Dealer; “I was either poor or rich”

DER STANDARD, 20.9.2012)

Machold pleads partly guilty, all others plead not guilty

Vienna – Sitting in hand-cuffs, waiting quietly for his trial to start, Violin dealer Dietmar Machold. On Wednesday the trial of the born German held in Austrian custody (“in 1997 I moved to the Kingdom of Music”) started. The Public Prosecutor accuses him of embezzling instruments, entrusted to him by customers, to pay his own debts. To sprinkle over that, serious fraud and fraudulent insolvency irregularities. To the last point, his ex-wife and mother in law are accused of helping (to the tune of 50.000 Euros) – an accusation that both dispute.

Machold swore to the court that they had known nothing about his business, “My wife is entirely un-musical, doesn’t play any instrument and has no knowledge of my violin dealings“. “And the mother-in-law?” asked the presiding Judge, Claudia Moravec-Loidol “she knew even less, should you have some superlatives left”. His family learned of his insolvency from the newspaper.

Cramped Pecuniary Passages

The first day of the trial provided a peek into the world of the Bachelor of Law, described by the public prosecutor, Hubert Harammer as “one of the most important dealers” who’s “almost global empire was commercially built on sand”. “In 2010 the façade crumbled, whereas in reality he was already bankrupt in 2006”.

The 62 year old didn’t deny that there had always been Cramped Pecuniary Passages: “This business has no regularity. I was always either poor or rich; and all employees expected that “The Old Man” as they already called me when I was young, would pull off a big deal”.

A particularly Cramped Pecuniary Passage occurred in 2009, as the Banks threatened to auction off his castle. “It was a matter of days, I had nothing else in the cupboard and in my desperation, I gave the Raiffeisen Bank two violins that belonged to a close friend” he admitted.

The businessman denies one fraud case. This concerned an appraisal he wrote for a Cello (300.000 Dollar). The court expert and a second court expert appearing as a witness came to a maximum of 1.500 Euro, the public prosecutor spoke of “Junk”. “That isn’t appropriate” (Machold) and “The Names of the experts may be known in Austria, my Name, in all humility, somewhat more”. The trial is scheduled to last until friday, Machold faces the threat of a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.(gra, DER STANDARD, 20.9.2012)

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A journalist has just emailed to me from the court room, that the trial didn`t finish, and has been adjourned until November. Presumably they just didn`t get finished in the alloted time.

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By popular request, a translation of the above cited article from the Vienna Kurier

Stradivari expert in hand-cuffs.

A violin dealer embezzles antique instruments. He supposedly mis-valued others, although they were plain junk.

The expert for antique violins brought from custody to face the court.

The formally world famous instrument dealer and castle owner, Professor Dietmar Harry Joachim Machold, who had branches in Vienna, Bremen and Zürich estimates his “gigantic” debts at “lets say 50 million Euros”. Even now he still describes himself as “Expert on old violins”.

That also included genuine Stradivari’s, like for instance the one from the year 1727, worth 1,7 million which he embezzled. Also those that he had made into a Stradivari to give more mileage. Inconvenient that a 5 million Euro heavyweight (with an actual value of a mere 3000 Euros) was made of wood from the Bavarian forest, that had been felled decades after Antonio Giacomo Stradivari’s death.

On Wednesday, to round off this genre picture; the Public Prosecutor Herbert Harammer displayed his story telling talents: A co-defendant musician sold, with the help of Machold’s faulty written appraisal, a Cello, supposedly from the hand of Ferdinando Alberti, for 230.000 Euros to an Italian. “One can purchase such junk for 1000 or 1500 Euros on Ebay” said the Public Prosecutor, citing an expertise.

Machold, in pre-trial detention, explains this away, it doesn’t certify genuineness, but was simply a valuation, that is a colossal difference. A valuation is useless when selling something. Somewhere in the world one would be able to find someone who would wish to pay 230.000 Euros for it.

And by the way, the expert who had rubbished the Cello, once worked in his workshop. One doesn’t know the name of this gentleman outside of Austria, “One does know me, in all humility, though”.

In desperation

The 62 year-old pleads guilty regarding the embezzlements. Amongst others, he took the violin by Camilli Mantua, made in 1740, which he had on consignment abroad, and sold it there and used the proceeds to pay his debts. Since he “moved to the Kingdom of Music (Austria)” he had come into a despicable financial situation. “In my desperation I took these instruments, I had nothing left in the cupboard”.

Although that is only a half truth: Because his 27 year younger ex-wife (unsuccessfully) tried to help deny the creditors access to his castle Eichbüchl (480.000 Euros) in Katzelsdorf, she is now a co-defendant on the bank next to him, as is her mother, who hid his watch and camera collection in her attic.

The trial continues.

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On Wednesday, to round off this genre picture; the Public Prosecutor Herbert Harammer displayed his story telling talents: A co-defendant musician sold, with the help of Machold’s faulty written appraisal, a Cello, supposedly from the hand of Ferdinando Alberti, for 230.000 Euros to an Italian. “One can purchase such junk for 1000 or 1500 Euros on Ebay” said the Public Prosecutor, citing an expertise.

Machold, in pre-trial detention, explains this away, it doesn’t certify genuineness, but was simply a valuation, that is a colossal difference. A valuation is useless when selling something. Somewhere in the world one would be able to find someone who would wish to pay 230.000 Euros for it.

Jacob, if I'm reading this correctly is Machold saying that if one were to search the world hard enough, some idiot somewhere will be willing to pay €230,000.00 for an instrument truly worth only €1000-1500, regardless of whether or not it has an appraisal he wrote stating its value to be €230,000.00? So if Machold had written a true appraisal estimate of only €1500, his friend still would have been able to locate some sucker to buy it for €230,000.00 anyways, so its not his fault. WOW!

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http://wien.orf.at/news/stories/2557404/

Stradivari- Trial: Prosecution extended

APA (Austria Press Agency)/Herbert Neubauer

The trial of an erstwhile violin dealer was continued this Monday. He has already pleaded partly guilty. Never the less, the public prosecutor extended his accusations even further.

The once famous Instrument dealer didn’t only have to attend the continuation of his trial re. Embezzlement, serious fraud and insolvency irregularities, but also face an extension of the charges, although these fitted seamlessly to the previously raised accusations. He supposedly bought a Stradivari to Japan, where it “disappeared”, although it was pledged to the Bank Austria (Uni Credit) as collateral for a loan.

The new charges accuse the 62 year old of embezzelment.

According to the public prosecutor, the German businessman had difficulties with a Japanese colleague, and gave him, as collateral for a (different) Stradivari that he was collecting, this, considerably more expensive instrument by the Italian manufacturer, with the impressive title “Leonado da Vinci”.

The Bank Austria (Uni Credit) had financed the purchase of this violin though, and had, as collateral for their financing, the title of ownership. Quite what, at the end of the day, happened with the violin, appeared to be unknown to all present. It supposedly reappeared in the meantime at a different dealership.

In the twighlight potholes of the violin trade“

The accused put this episode in quite a different light, although he “subjected himself entirely to the justice of Judge Claudia Moravec-Loidolt” who may decide if he had commited any offence. ”I beg your pardon, should I abduct you into the twighlight potholes of the violin Trade”.

These deals were somewhat curious, according to the narration of the accused: the Japanese dealer gave him the Strad with the nickname “Canadian”, he, in his turn gave the Japanese the “da Vinci”. Each instrument was to be sold by the respective other dealer on consignment. The Japanese colleague however, refused to give him his property (da Vinci) back, after a dispute surrounding the return of the “cheaper” instrument

The accused undertook absolutely nothing in redress. He was wary of an expensive civil procedure, since there were absolutely no documentary records of this trade, and it was entirely un-normal in this branch to drag one another before a judge. He took equally little trouble to inform the Bank Austria (Uni Credit) that the violin, pledged at 1,8 million and with a retail value of almost 3,6 million was “gone”. Up until this point, a deficit by this bank of 4,74 Million Euros had been expected.

Sentence expected on Friday.

The prosecution accuses the 62 year old, to have defrauded his customers and several banks. The background was the financial ruin of his previously successful international firm, through which he sold expensive Stradivari violins. In order to pay his bank obligations, he is accused of embezzling several of these expensive Stradivaris.

In his desperation, he had “had to” embezzle the instruments, as he already testified in September. He was noticeably less understanding regarding other parts of the accusations. In the insolvency procedure, he supposedly hid further instruments, expensive watches, coins and cameras from the insolvency administrator and herewith reduced the amount to be paid out to the creditors. The sentence is planed for Friday. The ex-violin dealer faces up to 10 years imprisonment

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This is a first agency report that appeared in the Standard just after Dietmars trial

9. November 2012, 15:08

6 Years prison for Violin Dealer

His ex-wife and mother in law also convicted, all sentences not yet legally binding

Vienna – “You played for high stakes, and lost highly, but have demonstrated the understanding that you will have to accept responsibility” said Judge Claudia Moravec-Loidolt today (Friday) in the reasoning of her sentencing in the Stradivari-trial. The main accused was convicted of embezzlement and fraudulent insolvency and received a sentence of six years imprisonment. His ex-wife resp. ex-mother in law to one year each, suspended for 3 years. All sentences are still pending appeal.

Became bankrupt in 2010

The German born defendant was occupied with the consignment of valuable historical stringed instruments and skidded, with his companies into bankruptcy in 2010. Alone one private partys attourney claimed damages of 80 million Euros in court. Aditionally, the violin dealer concealed parts of his private assets, including a camera and watch collection and violins with the intention to reduce the funds available to his creditors. It was in this aspect that the two ladies were charged.

To his credit, the Judge listed his previous lack of any criminal record as well as his detailed and apologetic confession. To his discredit, the enormous damage caused and that he had dreadfully mislead his ex-business partner. Ex-wife and mother in law had plead not guilty, got away however with the minimum penalty, since the 3 Judges came to the conclusion that they had been lead up the garden path by the principal defendant (Austria Presse Agency 9.11.2012)

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So it has finally happened. In a way I feel sorry for him, but he has done a tremendous amount of damage to the legitimate trade and especially to so many musicians that put their trust and their life's savings on the line for him. However it must be said that although his lawyer painted a picture of him slowly falling down a slippery slope, In reality he was cheating and conning from the start. He was never an expert. He was always a con man. He paid people for their expertise or simply made it up. In the 1980's I saw him purchase a saxon violin from a traveling dealer for a few hundred DM. He then flipped through the old Hamma book until he found something similar, and in spite of my protests he wrote a certificate and sold it for more than 80000 DM. I was dumbfounded and made plans to leave. Yes the workshop was fun and I had a great time while it lasted but when the going gets rough it's time to get going. I am still surprised that the authorities in the US and Germany have not made any moves against him. And no-one seems to have asked about his tax returns or how he carried so many instruments across so many international borders. Reading the reports It seems that he still wishes to be thought of as some great expert when all he really was good at was selling the King new clothes. A smoke and mirrors man is what he was and he was exceptionally good at it. I expect that he will searve another one or two years making four in total. I also suspect that his Honorary Consular status in the Marshall islands will searve him well when he comes out. He will probably have a better nest egg than Jacob and I put together with all of his former employees. Sleep well DM I don't envy you tonight.

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Interesting that his sentence was reduced for a 'detailed and apologetic confession'.....

From what I read there are still several instruments missing....does anyone know if Machold's 'confession' was extensive enough to help lead to the recovery of more instruments?

.....

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