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A courtroom sketch depicting one of the fake Mark Rothko paintings bought by a collector.

Spanish Court Denies US Extradition Request for Alleged Member of Knoedler Forgery Ring

On Wednesday, Spain’s national court cited health reasons when it ruled that José Carlos Bergantiños Díaz, an alleged member of the more than $80 million forgery scheme in which fake artworks were sold to Knoedler & Company Gallery, should not be extradited to the United States, Raphael Minder of the New York Times reports.

Medical reports detail a series of ailments that Díaz is suffering from, including neurological conditions. The forty-three-page ruling states Díaz could appear “before Spanish courts, with a level of success similar to that which could be reached before American courts.”

In February, the national court decided Díaz’s brother, Jesús Ángel Bergantiños Díaz, could be extradited to the United States, where he faces charges of “wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and money laundering,” as artforum.com previously reported.

The brothers were the alleged partners of Glafira Rosales who commissioned Pei Shen Qian, a Chinese immigrant, to forge works by Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, among other artists, and then sold them to clients through Knoedler Gallery. Since it closed in 2011, Knoedler has made a number of out-of-court settlements with collectors who purchased the fakes.

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