The German-born violin dealer Dietmar Machold went on trial in
Vienna yesterday, facing charges of serious fraud, embezzlement and
fraudulent bankruptcy. The trial is set to last until Friday, and
if Machold is found guilty, he could face up to ten years in
According to a Reuters report, the 62-year-old denied fraud charges but admitted embezzling money made from the sale of instruments entrusted to him by clients. He acknowledged diverting five such instruments, including a 1727 Stradivari violin.
Machold, who was arrested in Switzerland in March 2011 and extradited to Austria in December 2011, also denied making inflated valuation reports of instruments. One cello that he valued at $300,000 was, according to a court-appointed expert, worth no more than €1,500.