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'Ferrari Swede' arrested in Stockholm

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'Ferrari Swede' arrested in Stockholm
15:20 CEST+02:00
Stefan Eriksson, the reputed Swedish gangster who made global headlines when he crashed an exclusive Ferrari in Malibu, California in 2006, was arrested in Stockholm on Monday on suspicions of blackmail and other crimes.

“I can confirm that he is suspected in a number of serious crimes, but the investigation is such that I can't go into more detail,” said Christer Nordström of the Uppsala police to the Upsala Nya Tidning (UNT) newspaper.

In addition to the 47-year-old Eriksson, police also detained a 31-year-old man on blackmail suspicions and a 45-year-old suspected of serious theft.

The three men are being held in Uppsala ahead of a detention hearing and all three deny the suspicions against them.

Warrants had been issued for the men's arrest, although police were reluctant to divulge how long the men had been under police surveillance.

Nor would police say whether the suspected crimes were a part of organized criminal activity, although according to UNT, the crimes were committed in recent months.

Eriksson, referred to in Sweden as "Tjock Steffe" or "Fat Steffe", is known as one of the leaders of a criminal network active in the early 1990s called the Uppsala Maffia.

The group's members were suspected of a number of serious crimes including blackmail and other economic crimes.

Eriksson was arrested and sent to prison in 1994 following his conviction for assault, illegal threats, conspiracy to kidnap, and serious fraud.

After leaving prison, Eriksson hooked up with Carl Freer, a Swedish entrepreneur to help launch Gizmondo, a failed handheld gaming company which went bankrupt in 2006.

The bankruptcy was the subject of a lengthy investigation by UK liquidators who tried to unravel how the company burned through tens of millions of dollars in less than two years.

Just after the company went bankrupt, Eriksson made headlines around the world when he slammed an exclusive, $1 million Ferrari Enzo into a telephone pole while speeding down a California motorway outside of Los Angeles.

Eriksson claimed to have been a passenger in the car, but authorities were never able to track down the alleged driver. He was later arrested on suspicions of embezzlement, auto theft, drunken driving, and cocaine and weapons possession.

He eventually pleaded guilty to charges of embezzlement and illegal gun possession and was sent to prison. Upon his release in January 2008 he was deported from the United States.

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