New York prosecutor drops charges against Fiat heir Lapo Elkann

Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:03pm EST
 
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By David Ingram

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York prosecutors have dropped charges that Lapo Elkann, grandson of late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, falsely reported he was kidnapped in November in an effort to get ransom money.

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said on Wednesday it had declined to prosecute the case but gave no other details.

Elkann, 39, had apparently concocted a fake abduction scheme after running out of cash during a drug-fueled partying binge, a law enforcement source said.

A U.S. defense lawyer for Elkann, Randy Zelin, confirmed there would be no prosecution and said his client was grateful justice had prevailed.

He declined to provide details of what the investigation showed. Earlier reports about the incident had amounted to "false news," he added.

"Today's decision is so heartening and reinforces the faith I have always placed in American justice," Elkann said in a statement, adding he had gone through a difficult period but had been able to reflect over what happened and about the future.

"I'm clear in my determination to continue to work on myself," he said.

Elkann, along with his older brother, Fiat Chrysler FCHA.MI Chairman John Elkann, is an heir to Italy's biggest industrial dynasty. Lapo Elkann nearly died of a drug overdose in 2005 after collapsing in the apartment of a transsexual prostitute.   Continued...

 
Lapo Elkann (C) poses for a selfie in the paddocks during the Italian F1 Grand Prix in Monza September 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Max Rossi