An heir to the Fiat fortune has been accused of faking his own kidnapping by a transgender prostitute.
Lapo Elkann, the grandson of the car giant’s founder Gianni Agnelli, had reportedly contacted his family from New York demanding an £8,000 ransom ‘to guarantee his safety’.
However, after finding him in an apartment in Manhattan investigators now allege that he concocted the whole story because he blew all his money on drink and drugs.
Elkann, 39, was then arrested on a misdemeanour charge of falsely reporting an incident. He is due in court on January 25.
The Italian had only arrived in the US last week, after posting a rather rambling video on his Instagram account claiming he would be pursuing ‘a lot of new ideas’ and meeting ‘many very interesting characters’.
Instead, prosecutors say he spent two days holed up in a flat, drinking and taking drugs with the sex worker he would later accuse of kidnapping him.
Elkann, despite being part of Fiat’s shareholding family, has no role in the company.
In recent years he has focused on design – his Italia Independent company has become well known for its carbon fibre sunglasses.