Police seize Rolls-Royce from container

By Hamish McNeilly

Rolls-Royce was seize from its container by police. Photo / Wayne Drought
Rolls-Royce was seize from its container by police. Photo / Wayne Drought

A luxury car concealed in a container has been seized, but Dunedin police say it is too early to confirm it belongs to convicted fraudster Michael Swann.

Concerns were raised after an attempt was made to remove a container from Port Otago's Dunedin container yard on Wednesday.

With the contents unable to be confirmed by the person sent to retrieve the container, it was opened, revealing a vehicle, which the Otago Daily Times understands to be a Rolls-Royce.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Ferguson confirmed police had seized the vehicle, after receiving information from a member of the public.

''Police inquiries in relation to this particular vehicle are at an early stage and further investigations are under way.''

It was too early to confirm whether the vehicle was owned by Michael Swann, he said.

Police declined to release details of the car, or its location.

Mr Swann (51) was released from prison last week to live at a Christchurch address with businessman Alasdair Cassels.

This week, Mr Swann declined an interview with the ODT, after a request to his Wellington-based lawyer.

He remains subject to a $6 million pecuniary order, following his involvement in defrauding $16,902,000 from the former Otago District Health Board.

That effectively meant any property recovered up to that amount could be used to satisfy the order made under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mr Swann had a penchant for luxury vehicles, and used to drive a Lamborghini to his workplace at the health board.

Last month, an Official Information Act request revealed three known vehicles remain the subject of a confiscation order by the court; including a 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, a 1993 Mercedes-Benz E320 Cabriolet, and a 1974 V12 E-type Jaguar.

To date, four Rolls-Royces had been subject to confiscation orders by the court.

Those include a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II (bought for $160,000 and sold for $140,000), and a 1938 Rolls-Royce Phantom III (bought for $200,000 and sold for $97,100).

Anyone with information about Mr Swann's assets should contact Dunedin Police directly on 03 471-4800 or if they prefer to remain anonymous, to call the Crimestoppers line 0800 555 111.

- Otago Daily Times

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