A German art dealer has been sentenced to seven years in prison by a Stuttgart court for selling fake Alberto Giacometti sculptures worth millions of euros.
The 62-year-old from Mainz was the mastermind behind a group of counterfeiters who swindled collectors out of some €9 million (SFr11.8 million).
Mainz was the location of a secret workshop of around 1,000 Giacometti-style sculptures, which was discovered in August 2009. Many items had already been sold to collectors with falsified certificates of authenticity.
Giacometti (1901-1966) was the leading Swiss artist and sculptor of the 20th century, most famous for his sculptures of slender, elongated figures, including his "walking men".
His work is highly prized – his Grande femme debout II (Tall woman standing II) sold for $27.5 million in New York in 2008, confirming him as the most expensive Swiss artist.
swissinfo.ch and agencies