Ferrari smash Swede denies charges
The Local · 18 Apr 2006, 08:57
Published: 18 Apr 2006 08:57 GMT+02:00
Stefan Eriksson, 44, was hit with nine criminal counts, including three felony charges of embezzlement, three of automobile theft, one of illegal possession of a gun and two of driving intoxicated on the day of the crash.
Eriksson, a former executive with video game firm Gizmondo Europe, is accused of illegally taking three expensive sports cars out of England, where they were leased to him by the British financial firms which owned them, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's office.
Two were million-dollar Ferrari Enzos and the third a rare Mercedes-Benz sports car.
On February 21 one of the Ferraris - one of only 399 ever built - was split in two and reduced to scrap in a mysterious high-speed crash in Los Angeles.
Police estimated the vehicle was moving at more than 230 kilometers per hour (143 mph) at the time of the crash, in which Eriksson was only slightly injured.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel set bail at 5.5 million dollars.
Eriksson's attorney, Andrew Flier called the amount "outrageous," exceeding the one-million-dollar bail his murder suspects post. He added that his client is "innocent of every charge".
Eriksson claimed that he was just a passenger in the vehicle, which he says was driven by a German he named as only Dietrich.
But police said that Eriksson, who tested positive the same day for above-limit levels of alcohol, was himself the driver.
Police also discovered an allegedly illegal gun in Eriksson's residence in the high-priced Bel-Air neighborhood when they arrested him on April 7.
Eriksson is banned from owning firearms due to a 1990s conviction in Sweden for counterfeiting.