After detectives from the German Federal Criminal Police seized a trove of forged paintings; The trial of three men charged with running the art forgery ring specialising in the Russian avant-garde began this week but was suddenly suspended, reports the Art Newspaper. The three are charged with attempting to sell 18 forgeries of paintings by artists including Kazimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova, and Alexander Rodchenko.
In 2013 Police uncovered the international art forgery ring, German state prosecutors then officially charged two men with the crimes, Der Spiegel reported at the time. The two men charged in connection with the illicit operation were said to be a 68-year-old former gallerist from the German city of Wiesbaden, and the 42-year-old former director of that gallery. A 41-year-old man was also charged as an accomplice.
Some 15 months after Police uncovered the international forgery ring, German state prosecutors had officially charged two men with the crimes, with the addition of a third as an accomplice, Der Spiegel reported. The three men connected with this illicit operation have now been named in court papers as Itzhak H., 68, the gallery co-owner; Moez Ben H., 42, the gallery manager, and Adenande Ben H., 41. This individual has turned out to be the gallerist’s brother.
Due to the addition of 18 people arrested on suspicion of money laundering connected to the scheme, the defence team in Germany has requested a one-week postponement, pleading that they were given insufficient notice about a change in the proceedings.
The forgery ring is said to have begun operation in 2006, investigators into the illegal ring believe that the artworks were painted in forgery studios that were based in Russia and Israel and then shipped to Germany for sale. This information was obtained during two simultaneous raids in Switzerland and Israel.