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Classical 101

Trial of Stradivarius Dealer Now Underway

The trial of Dietmar Machold, formerly one of the world's most influential dealers of elite musical instruments, began Sept. 19 in Vienna. The events that led to Machold's arrest and trial have amounted to what has been called "the largest fraud case in the history of" the fine instrument trade. Machold has admitted to embezzling from the proceeds of instrument sales he helped broker for his clients, but has denied having committed fraud. After joining the staff of his father's violin shop in Bremen, Germany, in 1980, Machold built the family violin-making business into a multi-mullion-dollar international instrument dealing enterprise. But by 2000 business had begun to falter, and in 2003 and 2004 it came to light that Machold had inflated his valuation of several notable instruments. The global economic downturn of 2008 sent Machold's business into a tailspin from which it never recovered: Machold filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Many of the elite instruments Machold was known to have handled cannot be found. Read more:

  • Stradivarius Dealer Admits Embezzlement As Trial Begins (Reuters)
  • Dietmar Machold, Jet-Setting Violin Dealer, Accused in a Case of Fakes and Fraud (Washington Post)
  • Ending on a Sour Note: How the World's Top Stradivarius Player Misplayed (Der Spiegel)
  • The Fiddlers' Fiddler: Dietmar Machold Trial Starts Next Week (Slipped Disc)