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Renowned wine collector Rudy Kurniawan lied and prevaricated about the origin of fake vintages he tried to auction, a French expert told his New York fraud trial Thursday. The 37-year-old Kurniawan, once considered one of the top-five wine collectors in the world, faces up to 40 years in jail if convicted of wire and postal fraud. The court has heard how Kurniawan rose rapidly to the top of his profession thanks to his exceptional palate, capable of identifying the finest wines, and spent millions of dollars each year. Laurent Ponsot, of the acclaimed Domaine Ponsot winery in France, said he was alerted by email two days before an April 2008 auction in New York where 97 purported bottles of Domaine Ponsot were to be sold for $440,500-$602,000.