Fiat Chrysler heir has been arrested for faking his own kidnapping

Rebecca Smith
The Italian entrepreneur will appear in court in January
The Italian entrepreneur will appear in court in January (Source: Getty)

You might want to sit down for this one.

The heir to the Fiat Chrysler fortune aka Lapo Elkann, the grandson of late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, has been arrested in New York for allegedly faking his own kidnapping.

But it doesn't just stop there.

He came up with the story to get ransom money after running out of money during a drug-fuelled binge, law enforcement sources told Reuters.

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The 39-year-old had claimed he was being held against his will in New York from 6pm on Friday to 10.30pm on Saturday. A family representative dropped off the payment - apparently $10,000 - to the police. Officers said he had met an escort and the two took drugs before he made the claim.

Elkann has since been released and is due in court in New York in January.

He and his brother Fiat Chrysler chairman John Elkann, are heirs to Italy's biggest industrial dynasty, and his holdings in the car giant make him worth billions. Elkann also founded a sunglasses company in 2007 and shares in his business, Italia Independent, dropped sharply after news of the arrest emerged.

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Last year, three Italian paparazzi were accused of blackmailing Elkann and sentenced to prison after being convicted of extortion. They had filmed the Fiat heir allegedly under the influence of drugs and while he initially paid them off to keep the video suppressed, Elkann later reported them to the police.

The entrepreneur has spoken publicly of surviving a drug overdose in 2005 that nearly killed him and the process of getting clean after attending rehab in Arizona.

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