Fiat heir fakes kidnapping, held
One of the heirs to the Fiat automobile fortune, Lapo Elkann, has been arrested in New York for allegedly faking his own kidnapping, police said on Wednesday, amid reports that he was trying to pay for a weekend of debauchery.
According to several US media outlets, Elkann, the grandson of legendary Fiat founder Gianni Agnelli, tried to make his family believe he was kidnapped when he ran out of money during a two-day bender of sex and drugs.
The 39-year-old Italian playboy reportedly spent that time with a transgender prostitute, with whom he consumed a cocktail of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine before running low on funds, the reports said.
He reportedly came up with the plan to ask his family for $10,000 ransom to pay for more drugs, US media said.
The family alerted the police, who arrested Elkann after determining his claims to be false. Elkann was ordered to appear before a New York court in January for falsely reporting an incident before being released, the police said, without confirming if Elkann was found with a prostitute or whether drugs were involved.
The police did not give the specific date for his next court appearance.
Elkann’s brother John took over the helm of the Agnelli empire in May 2008 by becoming the head of the company that manages the family’s holdings.
The Agnelli family controls about a 30 per cent stake in Fiat and 44 per cent of the voting rights.
Elkann made headlines in 2005 when he slipped into coma after a drug overdose – also reportedly in the company of a prostitute.