Malibu News Flash: Ferrari owner arrested on charges of grand theft

The Swedish owner of the $1.2 million Enzo Ferrari that crashed in Malibu six weeks ago is arrested on charges of felony grand theft in connection with three exotic cars, including the Enzo.

By Hans Laetz / Special to The Malibu Times

Swedish game company executive Stefan Eriksson, whose Pacific Coast Highway crash of his Enzo Ferrari six weeks ago made headlines around the world, has traded his pricey mansion in Bel-Air Crest for a cell in the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail.

Members of an elite Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department team that deals with homeland security issues delivered a search warrant at Eriksson’s estate near Skirball Center Friday night. After searching for evidence, Eriksson was arrested and booked into the downtown jail early Saturday morning on charges of felony grand theft of property.

“These are charges stemming from all three vehicles [he allegedly owned]—the black Ferrari Enzo, the Mercedes that we seized in Beverly Hills and the red Ferrari that he wrecked in Malibu,” Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

“There was some sort of impropriety with the bank loans back in the United Kingdom on all three vehicles.”

However, Eriksson still has not been charged in connection with the crash on Feb. 21 that completely destroyed the $1.2 million Enzo Ferrari, driven at an estimated speed of 162 mph. Eriksson’s blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit for driving; however, he claimed he was not driving the car at the time of the accident. DNA tests that were taken from the crash scene and from Eriksson came in last week, but Sheriff’s officials have not released the results of those tests.

The Mercedes SLR McLaren worth more than $450,000 that was impounded in Beverly Hills March 26 was driven by Eriksson’s wife, Nicole Persson, 33. She was pulled over by Beverly Hills Police after an officer patrolling Wilshire Boulevard at Beverly Drive noticed it had no North American license plates.

Deputies would not say where the third car, a black Enzo, is parked right now.

Whitmore said he does not know if charges have been filed in Britain. If the UK requests extradition, it will be up to the Los Angeles County district attorney whether to try him here or extradite him.

As to the three misdemeanor charges that could be coming from Malibu—drunk driving, reckless driving and making a false statement to a police officer— Whitmore said those could be filed but may be dropped by the county attorney, as the punishment is relatively insignificant as compared to the felony grand theft charges Eriksson faces now.

Adding to his woes, the Department of Homeland Security has placed a hold on Eriksson at the county jail, possibly on immigration law violation charges. This procedure means Eriksson could be transferred to federal jurisdiction for further hearings and possible jail time even if a county judge grants him bail on the theft charge.

For now, Eriksson remains jailed on a no-bail bond, and will face a routine first appearance Tuesday morning at the main criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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