Counterfeit trade at the Palace of Versailles: expert on trial for fraud

After eight years of judicial investigation, 18th-century seating expert Bill Pallot will appear for producing fake period furniture bought by the institution.

Art expert Bill Pallot, a world authority on 18th-century French furniture, has been brought before a court for producing fake period furniture bought by the Palace of Versailles between 2008 and 2015, sources close to the case told AFP on Wednesday.

After eight years of judicial investigation, the investigating magistrate of Pontoise on Monday referred six people and a prestigious Paris antiques gallery to criminal court over the forgery scandal that rocked the microcosm of antiquities and historical monuments.

At the beginning of this file is “to bet» two men intoxicated by their ability to deceive the greatest experts and buyers of French art of the 18th century. At the heart of the affair, “Father of Lachaise» Namely, Bill Pallot, a 59-year-old French dandy with long hair and elegant three-piece suits, was fired for fraud. Until now, the undisputed French expert on royal furniture from the 18th century, he wrote the world’s reference work on the subject. Next to him, Bruno Desnoues, a carpenter from Faubourg Saint-Antoine, a historic woodworking district in Paris.


From 2007 to 2008, the duo produced and sold a handful of fake seats presented as extremely rare period furniture that would have graced the sitting room of Madame du Barry, mistress of Louis XV, or the cabinet of Queen Marie-Antoinette. An “exciting” scam, by his own admission, that will earn him hundreds of thousands of euros.

Purchased by recognized galleries, the fake antiques are then resold to prestigious clients such as the Palace of Versailles. Following the Tracfin report in 2014, investigators eventually uncovered this egregious traffic, particularly embarrassing for the prestigious institution.

Contacted by AFP, National Domain – the civil party in the case – and Bill Pallot’s defense team declined to comment. The investigating judge sent the antique gallery Kraemer, one of the most luxurious in Paris, and one of the brothers who run it, Laurent Kraemer, to court. If the judge admitted that the Kraemers were not “in agreement» with counterfeiters, they were accused of «without performing sufficiently thorough checks» on the incriminated furniture.

The Kraemer Gallery has been deceived, and with it all the greatest French experts in 18th century furniture (…) We are impatiently waiting for the debate to show that the Kraemers have no other place in this case than victims», their lawyers Mauricia Courrégé and Martin Reynaud reacted to AFP.

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