German police arrest three suspected of dealing in forged art network | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 19.08.2009
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Culture

German police arrest three suspected of dealing in forged art network

German police believe they have smashed a worldwide ring suspected of selling forged artworks worth millions of dollars with the arrests of three people, prosecutors said Wednesday.

A Giacometti sculpture of a man's head

Works by Giacometti have fetched millions of dollars

Police said they seized over 1,000 fake Alberto Giacometti bronzes and sculptures in the swoop.

The three arrested - a 59-year-old man from Frankfurt and a 61-year-old art dealer and his wife - face charges of collaborating since 2004 to sell the fake works on the international market.

Prosecutors in south-western Germany said in a statement that the sales are believed to have been worth tens of millions of dollars.

Genuine works by Giacometti have fetched sums in the millions, most notably a bronze which was purchased at an auction last year in New York for more than $27 million (19 million euros).

Prosecutors said the 61-year-old had been posing as a count who also worked as an artwork salesman. His 59-year-old colleague then pretended to be a friend of Giacometti's brother, saying that he had found the statues in a secret cache after the artist's death in 1966.

dfm/AFP/AP

Editor: Susan Houlton

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