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Wrecked Ferrari Enzo Belongs To Bank

7/7/2006 — NBC News 4 Los Angeles

Judge: Wrecked Ferrari Enzo Belongs To Bank

Mercedes-McLaren SLR Also Involved In Ruling

POSTED: 11:36 am PDT July 7, 2006

UPDATED: 5:59 pm PDT July 7, 2006

LOS ANGELES -- The wreckage of a rare, red Ferrari Enzo that crashed in Malibu will be shipped overseas, along with two other cars brought to the country by a man now charged with embezzlement and theft, a judge ruled Friday.

Superior Court Judge Craig Veals granted the prosecution's request to release the pricey vehicles -- which include a black Ferrari Enzo and a Mercedes-Benz SLR -- to English banks, even though defense attorneys for Bo Stefan M. Eriksson, Jim Parkman, Martin Adams and William White, argued their client was the rightful owner.

"My clients, the Bank of Scotland and Capital Bank, are very pleased the judge decided the proper owners of the vehicles are the banks," attorney David Diamond said.

The Bank of Scotland and its subsidiary own the red Enzo that Eriksson is alleged to have crashed into a power pole Feb. 21 along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Diamond said.

"When anyone, whether it's criminal proceeding or non-criminal proceedings, default on their contractual obligations to make continuous monthly payments, they lose their legal right to claim ownership," he said.

Lombard Bank and Yorkshire Bank are the owners of the other two cars including the Mercedes-Benz, which was seized when the Beverly Hills Police Department stopped the vehicle as it was being driven by Eriksson's wife, who allegedly did not have a license.

The vehicles are currently being held by the Sheriff's Department at various impound lots as the 44-year-old businessman awaits trial.

They could be shipped overseas as early as Monday, after prosecutors and defense attorneys comb them for evidence, said Deputy District Attorney Steven Sowders, head deputy of the Auto Insurance Fraud Division.

Eriksson, a former executive with the now-bankrupt video game company Gizmondo Europe, has pleaded not guilty to nine criminal charges, including embezzlement, grand theft auto and drunken driving in connection with the crash.

He is being held on $3 million bail in that case.

He is charged with grand theft auto for bringing the three cars into the United States.

Prosecutors contend that he stopped making car payments on his lease agreement, which did not allow him to take the exotic cars out of Great Britain.

Eriksson initially denied he had been driving the Ferrari when it crashed, but later acknowledged that he was at the wheel, according to testimony by a sheriff's detective at Eriksson's preliminary hearing.

Authorities say the car -- one of only 400 Enzos built -- was going 180 mph when it smashed into a power pole shortly after 6 a.m.

The DUI charges stem from two alcohol breath tests given to Eriksson shortly after the crash. The first test -- at 7:32 a.m. -- showed a blood-alcohol content of .093, and the second, taken three minutes later, showed .085, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Anything above .08 is considered to be legally drunk while driving.

Eriksson also faces charges in a misdemeanor case brought by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office involving an alleged Jan. 4 hit-and-run.

In that case, Eriksson is accused of being at the wheel of a Porsche Cayenne when it rear-ended a Ford Explorer stopped at a red light at Sunset and Beverly Glen boulevards. He is also accused of driving without a valid California driver's license and driving without insurance.

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