Suspected Old Master forger Giuliano Ruffini is arrested in Italy after turning himself in

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The art dealer Giuliano Ruffini, who is the suspected mastermind of a major Old Master forgery scandal, was arrested on 18 November in Northern Italy, according to local media. Initial reports detailed a man who matched Ruffini’s exact description; subsequent reports published on 19 November confirmed the man to be Ruffini.

The Italian newspaper Stampa Reggiana first reported that the carabinieri in the town of Castelnovo Monti, not far from Ruffini’s residence in Reggio Emilia, had arrested an as-yet unnamed “77-year-old art critic” living there, wanted by French police for “fraud, money laundering and forgery of works of art”, according to an arrest warrant dated 14 July 2019. All this information corresponds to Ruffini and the warrant for his arrest. The Times later confirmed Ruffini’s identity.

“Having learnt from the newspapers that he was wanted, the person concerned, through his lawyer, informed the commander of the Castelnovo Monti that he wanted to turn himself in, and so he did, presenting himself in the late morning to the local carabinieri”, Stampa Reggiana’s report says.

Last week The Art Newspaper reported that the authorities were looking for Ruffini and could not find him. His arrest warrant was delayed by the supreme court until at the end of a fiscal procedure against him. He had been cleared of fiscal fraud for the court. Ruffini has always maintained his innocence, claiming the paintings were not forged and that the attribution to Old Masters was the responsibility of experts, curators and dealers who authenticated them.

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