Photo: U.S. Attorney’s Office
On December 14, 2019, authorities at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry in Buffalo, New York, encountered a 1996 Ferrari F50 with a suspect vehicle identification number partially covered in black tar, which led authorities to hold the car. Almost a month later, with the car still being held, Ferrari confirmed the F50 had been reported stolen in 2003.
That was just the latest twist in the story of this F50, of which the U.S. Attorney’s Office said this week that “multiple parties have claimed ownership of the vehicle.” Only 349 F50s were ever made, and this one has been appraised at $1,949,669, according to court documents.
One person claiming ownership is Paolo Provenzi, who provided documentation proving that he and his brother and father bought the car in Italy on February 19, 2003, for €260,000, only for it to have it stolen a little more than a month later on March 30, 2003 from a hotel parking garage in Imola, Italy. The other person claiming ownership is Mohammed Alsaloussi, of Miami, who bought the car for $1,435,000 million in September 2019 and says he did not know the vehicle was reported stolen, according to court documents.
Now the U.S. Attorney in charge of the case has asked a judge to decide, though this blip in the F50’s history is the latest in a string of them. The car currently remains in the care of the federal government.
From The Buffalo News:
“When this is over, there’s going to be a movie made about this,” [Provenzi’s attorney Alessandra Piras] said. “This car has been going around the world, apparently. It was in Japan for a while.”
A Japanese man approached Provenzi a couple years ago asking him to withdraw his police report, she said.
She called the car’s travels “a complicated story” but declined further comment until she could review the court filing.
A Seattle attorney who represents Ikonick Collection and Alsaloussi said his firm will file court papers in coming days.
“We have been eagerly awaiting the filing of this action and believe our client has a very strong claim of ownership of the vehicle,” said attorney Richard F. O’Neill. “We look forward to resolving this matter.”
The docket report indicates that the case, filed Wednesday, was referred Thursday to mediation, which suggests to me that Provenzi and Alsaloussi might eventually reach some kind of agreement, though, if an agreement cannot be reached, I will go on record to say that I would be happy to take ownership of the F50.
“After investigation, my Office determined that it would not be appropriate for us to exercise our authority and forfeit this extremely valuable and previously stolen luxury car,” U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr said in a statement. “Instead, after an 18-year odyssey, which we know took it across continents and countries, we have decided that the time has come for a court of law to determine the rightful owner of the vehicle.”
You can read the U.S. Attorney’s full complaint below.