A Ferrari confiscated as part of a criminal case in Malta has been sold at an auction in south-east Wales.

The black Ferrari 360 Modena was entered into the Newport auction by the Maltese government, in what the auctioneer said was a “landmark” moment, given that the seller was foreign state.

It sold for £33,150 (€36,605) following a three-way bidding war, the South Wales Argus reported.

That is a tidy price for an automatic transmission Ferrari with 47,000km on its clock: identical models with similar mileage are advertised for sale on second-hand car sale websites for prices ranging from €49,000 to €80,000.

The Modena was Ferrari’s first version of the 360, a model which the Italian carmaker produced between 1999 and 2005. Its 3.6 litre V8 engine generates 395 hp and can take drivers from a standstill to 60km/h in 2.47 seconds.

All proceeds from the Newport sale, once auction fees are deducted, will be returned to Malta’s public coffers.

In Malta, the responsibility for disposing of proceeds from crime falls under the remit of the Asset Recovery Bureau, which became operational just 12 months ago after several years in administrative limbo.

The bureau traces criminal assets, manages confiscated ones and disposes of them when ordered to by a court. All proceeds from the sale of such assets are returned to public coffers.

Bureau director Brian Farrugia told Times of Malta that high-value assets – such as Ferrari supercars – tended to fetch higher prices in foreign markets.

Earlier this year, the Bureau struck a deal with a UK-based independent auction house, Wilsons, allowing it to sell high-value items through its auction network in England, Wales and Ireland.

The Ferrari sale was the first such sale, Mr Farrugia explained.

Once the auctioneers’ expenses are deducted, the rest of the proceeds will be returned to the Maltese treasury.

“The car had been sitting idle and depreciating in value for more than three years,” Mr Farrugia said.

“We took it over less than two months ago, and within 60 days we’ve managed to sell it”.

Before being sold in Newport, the Ferrari was put on display in Newcastle, as part of a public education campaign to drum home the idea that crime does not pay.

Not all items confiscated by the Bureau are supercars, of course. There are some other high-value items such as boats, Mr Farrugia said, but other goods are more mundane.

“Carpets, clothes, shoes, run-down cars... you’d be surprised,” he said.