Crime News

After Illegally Copying Sculptures, Billionaire Owes Artist $640,000

John Raimondi, Lupus, 1986, stainless steel. COURTESY THE ARTIST

John Raimondi, Lupus, 1986, stainless steel.


In 2014, artist John Raimondi sued billionaire Igor Olencioff after he realized that unauthorized copies of his stainless steel and bronze sculptures were being shown in two cities in California. That case ended with the jury slapping Olencioff, a Russian-born immigrant worth $3.6 billion, according to Forbes, with a $640,000 charge for copyright infringement. Today, a federal judge denied Olencioff’s challenge to that verdict, Courthouse News reports.

Thirteen years ago, Olencioff contacted Raimondi about buying some of his monumental sculptures. Though Raimondi provided drawings for the planned works, Olencioff never bought them. Instead, Olencioff had copies of Raimondi’s sculptures made in China. Ten years later, after having gotten a tip that his sculptures were being shown publicly in two Californian cities, Raimondi took Olencioff to court and won.

Olencioff admitted to copying the sculptures, but, in a challenge to the jury’s decision, claimed that $640,000 was too high of a price to pay for what he had done. Raimondi, meanwhile, asked for the sculptures to be torn down. The judge did not grant either of these requests.

Previously, in 2007, Olencioff was brought up on felony tax charges for hiding $250 million in Europe. He lost that case, was forced to pay $52 million, and was put on probation for 120 days.

This is the second lawsuit Raimondi has been a part of this year. In April, Raimondi sued the Palm Beach Opera for destroying one of his sculptures without his permission. That case has yet to reach a verdict.

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