Gizmondo bloke gets jail time

Three and a half years.

Bo Stefan Eriksson, the one-time Swedish gangster who co-founded the ill-fated Gizmondo handheld gaming startup, has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail in California.

Eriksson pleaded guilty to embezzlement and drunken driving, charges relating to a widely reported incident in which he crashed and wrote off a rare - and very expensive - Ferrari Enzo. Which, it then turned out, didn't even belong to him - along with two other sports cars in his possession, it actually belonged to the Royal Bank of Scotland.

His conviction comes after an earlier trial, for embezzlement and car theft, ended in a mistrial. He struck a bargain with the court in which his guilty plea was entered in exchange for the charge of car theft being dropped entirely.

According to Eriksson's lawyer, the plea was entered because of concerns over the cost of another lengthy trial. "Stefan believes he can be successful in the future," attorney Jim Parkman told the media. "He wanted to move on and ultimately be out of jail in a year."

Once he does leave jail, however, Eriksson will be deported from the United States. His mansion in California has also been seized by the court, and it will now be sold in order to pay court costs and restitution to the banks involved in the affair.

All of which, presumably, puts a lid at last on the Gizmondo affair - which started out with what seemed to be an enthusiastic but naive console start-up, became something much more sinister when the involvement of organised crime elements and claims of shareholder intimidation were aired, and has finally come to a close with the high speed crash of an extremely rare sports car and a bizarre series of legal wrangles. Anyone want to buy a movie script?

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