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Ex-Gizmondo exec arrested in California

Stolen car allegations

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Malibu police arrested former Gizmondo executive Stefan Eriksson this weekend almost two months after his $1m red Ferrari Enzo was totalled in a smash on the Pacific Coast Highway. Two other sportscars, including a second black Enzo, were taken from his home and impounded.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department yesterday said Eriksson, 44, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of grand theft, the Los Angeles Times reports. Detectives alleged the Enzo, and other cars in Eriksson's collection, were not his. According to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore, they believe the cars are owned by unnamed British financial institutions.

The banks claim to own the cars after Eriksson allegedly failed to keep up the payments on the loans they made to him to enable him to buy the cars in the UK. Eriksson subsequently took the cars to the US. After the crash, it was alleged by Sheriff's Department officials that he did not have the correct documentation to authorise the Enzo's use on California roads.

Eriksson's Bel Air home was raided by police on Friday. They searched the property for six hours and Eriksson was subsequently taken into custody.

In addition to the black Enzo, police also took a car described as "a rare Mercedes".

Eriksson's red Enzo was ripped in half in a dawn smash on Tuesday, 21 February. Police calculated the car had been doing 162mph when it left the road and hit a power pole. At the time, Eriksson's blood alcohol was reportedly found to be over the legal limit for driving in California, but he claimed he had not been behind the wheel of the car. The driver, he said, was a German man known only to him as Dietrich. Eriksson alleged Dietrich fled the scene immediately after the crash.

Detectives' suspicions were raised, however, because Eriksson cut his lip during the impact, but blood was only found on the driver's airbag. DNA tests have been carried out to see if Eriksson's blood matches that of the driver-side spill, but detectives have not made the test results public.

Eriksson quit Gizmondo Europe in October 2005 after the Swedish press revealed he had received a number of criminal convictions in the mid-1990s. Eriksson joined the firm when Gizmondo Europe acquired his Swedish games development company, Indie Studios, in August 2004. ®

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