Johannesburg – Sars customs officials intercepted a LaFerrari, with an estimated value of over R13.8 million, which was being smuggled back into South Africa, the revenue service said on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Sandile Memela said the very rare 708kW V12 petrol-electric hybrid supercar had originally been stored at a bonded warehouse in South Africa, since 2014.

“When it was first brought into the country, the owner failed to follow correct import procedures including paying the necessary customs duties and VAT. As a result, the vehicle stayed in a bonded warehouse for three years because the owner could not finalise the required customs processes,” Memela said.

“Then in February 2017, the vehicle owner submitted an export declaration to take the car to the Democratic Republic of Congo through Beitbridge border post. A day later, there was an attempt to have the vehicle return to South Africa through the same border post.”

The vehicle was detained and a letter of intent was issued to the unnamed owner to enable them to make representation to Sars, Memela said. Besides the aforementioned issues, the owner would not be allowed to drive the LaFerrari legally on South Africa's roads as it is left-hand drive.

Only 500 LaFerraris were ever made, the last one having sold for $7 million (R91 million) at an auction held for the benefit of an Italian earthquake relief fund late last year.

In fact, the supercar was never officially for sale to the public, rather Ferrari decided exactly which of its loyal customers would be offered the privilege of buying one. In fact, it became so sought after that a wealthy American collector, Preston Henn, even tried to sue the company for refusing to sell him one, citing that it would damage his reputation among in "the universe of Ferrari aficionados". Henn reportedly eventually dropped the lawsuit and bought a Honda NSX instead.

IOL & African News Agency