Ferrari crash Swede faces new trial
AFP/The Local · 4 Nov 2006, 10:05
Published: 04 Nov 2006 10:05 GMT+01:00
Prosecutors said they will try Stefan Eriksson again after a jury failed to reach a verdict at the end of the 44-year-old's trial for stealing two Ferrari Enzos and a top-end Mercedes-Benz.
"We proved our case," said prosecutor Steve Sowders after the jury ended deliberations at 10-2 in favor of a conviction at a Los Angeles Court.
"We believe he is guilty and we will prosecute him."
Eriksson, who is charged with grand theft auto and embezzlement, was caught after he wrote off one of the Enzos in a 160 mile per hour (257 kilometer per hour) crash near the exclusive celebrity enclave of Malibu in February.
The car – one of only 400 made and the most expensive Ferrari on the market – was severed in two after slamming into a power pole. Eriksson walked away unscathed from the crash.
Prosecutors said Eriksson stole the three cars after leasing from a British company and shipping them to the US.
Eriksson has previous convictions for forgery and fraud in Sweden. Known as 'Tjock Steffe' or 'Fat Steffe', he was a leader of the 'Uppsala Mafia', which put fear into indebted businessmen across Sweden. Threatening them with guns and destroying homes, Eriksson soon gained a reputation as a ruthless criminal. Meanwhile, he was able to live a life of luxury on the proceeds, attending meetings in smart hotels in Stockholm and indulging his passion for high living.
He started his criminal career at age 19 with a series of break-ins, which he carried out with an older relative. An investigation in 1981 described him as 'sensitive' or even 'wet'. He was sentenced to 3 months in prison.
Eriksson left Sweden for London in 2001, where he joined a gang of emigrant Swedes. Despite his criminal past he became one of the founders of Gizmondo, a UK-based company that made video gaming consoles. The company was declared bankrupt in January 2006 after running up debts of up to $200 million in the second half of 2005
Eriksson resigned from Gizmondo in October 2005.