The sale of a high-end Ferrari earlier this year by the State’s criminal Asset Recovery Bureau (ARB) could turn into a costly mistake, after the original owner claimed the Attorney General had no right to confiscate and auction off his supercar.

Apart from contesting the actual sale, Italian national Davide Sapienza is also holding the Attorney General liable for letting his Ferrari 360 Modena slip away for a fraction of its actual value.

The black Ferrari was sold by the ARB for €36,605 in August at an auction in Wales following a three-way bidding war, despite a constitutional case disputing the car’s confiscation. 

An expert appraisal of the Ferrari presented to a court on Thursday on behalf of Mr Sapienza placed the value of the Ferrari at €80,000.

It was originally bought by the former owner for €148,000.

The report included a list of €20,500 worth of extras added to the 2008 model.

Only 8,800 Ferrari 360 Modena models were ever built.

Mr Sapienza claims the Attorney General had no right to even confiscate his Ferrari, seeing he had never been sentenced for a crime in Malta.

The Italian national was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a Rome court, after originally being arrested in Malta in 2013 on drug trafficking charges.

Following his conviction in Italy, a Maltese court had rejected an attempt by Mr Sapienza to reclaim his assets in Malta.

Instead, the court last year authorised their confiscation, including the black Ferrari 360.

In reply to the Italian national’s claims for damages in court, the Attorney General hit back by arguing Mr Sapienza had actually been the subject of a European arrest warrant after failing to return to Malta after a trip to Italy.

The Attorney General said Mr Sapienza had unilaterally chosen to be “processed” in Italy instead of facing justice in Malta.

The Attorney General also accused the Ferrari owner of failing to appeal the asset confiscation in November 2018, and never proving that the supercar was not bought using criminal funds.

During proceedings on Thursday, an official from the Asset Recovery Bureau said that the sale of the Ferrari had been authorised through the appropriate channels.

The proceeds of criminal asset sales by the ARB return to the State’s coffers.

In an annual report presented to parliament in June, ARB chairman Joseph Camilleri lamented how the bureau had been left in the lurch after both the Police Commissioner and Inland Revenue Commissioner said they could not spare any staff to help.

The chairman highlighted how regulations setting up the bureau envisioned key roles within it being occupied by experienced staff nominated by the police and Inland Revenue Department.

The ARB chairman said the lack of staff availability from these two entities was “quite a big setback for the setting up of a well-functioning ARB equipped with already skilled officers as envisaged by regulations”.

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