Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Franco-Italian art dealer Giuliano Ruffini, who is wanted by French authorities for organizing a highly elaborate network of counterfeit paintings, was arrested by Italian police on Friday.

Giuliano Ruffini, 77, is accused of defrauding museums, auction houses and private collectors by selling them counterfeit Old Master paintings.

Ruffini surrendered to police in Castelnovo ne’ Monti, a city in the Reggio Emilia region of central Italy, his lawyer said in a statement.

Ruffini’s arrest followed a multi-year judicial marathon to secure his extradition to France after an investigation was opened in 2014 and a European arrest warrant was issued.

Well known in the art world, Ruffini has sold dozens of paintings since the 1990s, including works attributed to great masters like El Greco, to prestigious European museums, including the Louvre in Paris, often using intermediaries.

His fake paintings have also attracted wealthy buyers, such as the Prince of Liechtenstein, who bought the fake art for seven million euros.