Italia Independent designer Lapo Elkann reportedly faked his own kidnapping over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The New York-born entrepreneur, grandson of former Fiat CEO of Gianni Agnelli, is said to have flown into the Big Apple for the U.S. holiday on Thursday (24Nov16). Police sources told New York Daily News that while there he called a 29-year-old transgender woman who allegedly works as an escort and had contacts to get drugs. After reportedly running out of money two days later, Elkann is said to have concocted a kidnap plan, in a bid to get his wealthy family to part with some cash.
The New York Daily News reports sources claim the 39-year-old told his loved ones he was being “held against his will by a woman who would hurt him if they didn’t pony up $10,000 (£8,000) to guarantee his safety.”
Elkann, who previously worked with former Gucci creative director Frida Giannini on developing the Gucci Special Edition of the Fiat 500, was allegedly taken in by police for questioning after he and the escort turned up to collect the money. A family representative had gone to the 13th Precinct stationhouse and set up a money dropoff.
The publication goes on to report police soon determined the false report was Elkann’s idea and he was charged with falsely reporting an incident, and issued a desk appearance ticket.
Since setting up sunglasses design company Italia Independent in 2007, Elkann has teamed up with some of the biggest names in fashion. In July (16) he collaborated with Jeremy Scott on a range of lenses, and the company also boast an Adidas line. Stars including Nas and Rihanna have stepped out wearing Italia Independent designs.
This isn’t Elkann first public scandal; in 2005 he had a widely reported near-death cocaine and heroin overdose which resulted in him leaving Fiat, where he had worked as the Director of Marketing.