$1m smash shows chief of disgraced Gizmondo still has taste for fast lane

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The Independent US

The spectacular collapse of the computer gaming company Gizmondo appears to have done little to dampen the appetite of one of its former senior executives for life in the fast lane.

Malibu police are waiting to re-interview Stefan Eriksson, a member of the so-called "Swedish Mafia" who were at the helm of the hi-tech firm which it is claimed blew millions of pounds of investors' money on fast cars and pop stars, after his $1m Ferrari Enzo was written off during a high-speed road race.

Sgt Philip Brooks of Malibu traffic department said the Enzo, one of only 400 ever produced, was doing "considerably more" than 120mph as it raced a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren along the Pacific Coast Highway at dawn on Tuesday. Driving the route has become a cult among sports car owners.

The 44-year-old Swede, who was paid more than $3.22m (£1.8m) plus a car allowance of $231,324 during his time as executive officer at the company which collapsed this week with debts of £210m, was found to be over the drink-drive limit after the crash.

The Enzo was cut in half after striking a power pole although miraculously no one was hurt. The driver was spotted leaping out of the wreckage and disappearing into a canyon. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department carried out a three-and-a-half-hour helicopter search. Mr Erikkson, now a Bel-Air resident, denied being at the wheel, but police found blood on his lip and on the driver's airbag. No traces were found on the passenger's side.

He told investigators that the car was being driven by a German acquaintance he knew only as Dietrich. Sgt Philips said: "We found it surprising that you don't know the name of the guy driving your million-dollar car. We will be contacting him to straighten out the inconsistencies in his story."

Police said the car was the property of the Bank of Scotland and was in the process of being repossessed. However, Mr Eriksson is still the proud owner of three Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLRs, police said.

Other Enzo owners include the actor Nicolas Cage and the pop star Britney Spears. Chris Banning, who is the leader of the Los Angeles Ferrari Owners' Club said: "He destroyed one of the finest cars on Earth, maybe the finest. It's like taking a Van Gogh painting and burning it."

Back in London, as liquidators began the long task of sifting through the wreckage of Gizmondo yesterday, it emerged that the company had collapsed owing between £25m and £30m to the Inland Revenue in relation to share issues made to staff. Insolvency specialists will submit a full report on the collapse of the company to the Department of Trade and Industry.

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