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CRIME

Fiat heir arrested in US for faking own kidnapping

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.

Fiat heir arrested in US for faking own kidnapping
File photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

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 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 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 New York court in January for falsely reporting an incident before being released, police said, without confirming whether Elkann was found with a prostitute or whether drugs were involved.

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 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.”

But US media said that upon his arrival in New York, he sought out a prostitute.

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.

CRIME

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.

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