Now, Bo Stefan Eriksson, 44, faces up to eleven years in prison if convicted of the array of charges against him: two counts of grand theft auto, two counts of embezzlement, possession of an illegal firearm and two counts of drunk driving.
The judge in the case warned Eriksson he was rejecting “a very generous offer” but the Swede, speaking through an interpreter, was defiant.
“I cannot agree that I stole the car because I didn’t,” he said.
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 21st 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.
Eriksson claimed that he was just a passenger in the vehicle, which he says was driven by a German he named as only Dietrich.
‘Dietrich’ became something of an internet legend, as bloggers traded rumours about his identity. But police said that Eriksson, who tested positive the same day for above-limit levels of alcohol, was himself the driver.
The 44 year old, known in Sweden as ‘Tjock-Steffe, or ‘Big Steffe’, has been in custody since his arrest.
The trial at Los Angeles Superior Court was expected to begin on Tuesday.