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Gizmondo CEO: rumors of mafia connection were 'manipulation'

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The Gizmondo story was already insane enough on its own – the out-of-nowhere launch, the lavish spending on events and a retail location, Momma Can I Mow the Lawn. An in-depth article at Eurogamer adds even more insane details than we knew.

For example, Gizmondo had plans for a widescreen followup – which CEO Carl Freer reportedly showed off at meetings about the launch of the original system. The company even pitched an Xbox-branded version (above). "We were featured on the Windows CE Exhibition Tour for quite some time, even after the company went down," Gizmondo CEO Carl Freer told Eurogamer. "I think the mock-up was probably from one of the presentations with them, about how we could bridge the gap between the Xbox and the mobility. But no, there wasn't any agreement for us to do an Xbox device."

By far the most famous aspect of the Gizmondo story was executive Stefan Eriksson, who became infamous after he crashed a $1 million Ferrari and blamed a driver who was nowhere to be found. Afterward, it was revealed that he had been convicted of receiving stolen goods. Freer claims that reports of Eriksson's connections to the Swedish mafia were overblown. "I don't think Sweden has a mafia," he said. "That terminology has been somewhat over-used. I knew about his criminal past, but when he started working for us he was not a wanted man. He'd served his time and paid his dues."

Furthermore, an article in Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper about Eriksson's criminal past was "fabricated from an agenda," Freer said. "I'm talking about the power of share manipulators who have influence over what the media writes. When a lot of money is at stake, you start attracting people who are not interested in the longevity of the company but the performance of the stock. That's the dark side of running a company."

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