A Rolls-Royce Phantom was confiscated on Tuesday by Italian customs officers after it was found that the vehicle’s interiors were furnished with “authentic leather” from an endangered crocodile species. The luxury vehicle was imported for sale from Russia into Italy, with the bespoke Phantom featuring elements that were deemed illegal while it was on its way to a Rome-based dealership of exotic cars. The Phantom was intercepted by Italian government agency Agenzia Dogane e Monopoli after it was discovered that the luxury vehicle’s cabin was upholstered with the exotic reptile skin and was en route to being sold elsewhere.
“ADM officials from Livorno together with the CITES component of the #GdF seized an imported Rolls Royce car from Russia and destined for a company in Rome,” the Italia customs said in an Instagram post. It added that the check revealed the car’s internal upholstery including seats, armrests, and internal doors was "enriched" with crocodile leather inserts, belonging to the protected species Crocodylia, whose products are banned under the Washington International Convention.
"Any form of commercial use of the crocodile species is prohibited without the required authorizations,” Italy’s ADM said. It continued, “There are more and more seizures of goods and objects obtained with the use of protected or endangered species, a sign that the attention of ADM and GdF is always high for this type of crime.”
The multilateral treaty of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) came into the effect in 1975. It was drafted to protect endangered animals and flowers and it prohibits the commercial use of skin and fur of said animals. Products made of crocodile or alligator leather requires a CITES clearance certificate to be legally procured and sold across 160 countries, including Italy. As the Rolls-Royce Phantom importer didn’t have any such legal document to show, the case was referred to the court of law and he may now face a lawsuit. According to local Italian media reports, the original owner of the Phantom may be able to take the vehicle back, without the illegal upholstery, after paying a €20,000 penalty.
Coming to the vehicle, the second-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom is priced between Rs 8.99 - Rs 10.48 Cr, ex-showroom. However, Rolls-Royce owners like to further spend on personalizing their vehicles to their tastes. This means that the final price of a Phantom can be much higher than the base price and each one is unique. The Phantom is powered by a 6.75-litre V12 petrol engine that churns out 570 PS and 900 Nm of peak power and torque figures. It is mated to a satellite-aided 8-speed automatic transmission that uses GPS to scan the road ahead and change gears accordingly.