Fiat heir arrested over kidnap claim
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 Tuesday, 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 had been kidnapped when he ran out of money during a twoday bender of sex and drugs.
The 39-year-old Italian reportedly spent that time with a prostitute, with whom he consumed 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 in ransom to pay for more drugs, US media said.
The family alerted police, who arrested Elkann after determining his claims to be false.
Elkann was ordered to appear in a court in January, police said.
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 percent stake in Fiat, and 44 percent of the voting rights.
Elkann made headlines in 2005 when he slipped into a coma after a drug overdose — also reportedly in the company of a prostitute.
On Wednesday, Elkann posted a photo of himself on his Instagram account — dressed in a bright red suit, he said he would be traveling “for business and creative projects around the world in the next few days.”
Elkann briefly held a job in Fiat’s marketing department, but then moved on to other projects. He is one of the founders of the eyewear brand Italia Independent.
Lapo Elkann, heir to the Fiat fortune