German man jailed for Cindy Crawford extortion

Tue Mar 9, 2010 5:00pm EST
 
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BERLIN (Reuters) - A man was sentenced to two years in jail by a court in southern Germany Tuesday for trying to extort $100,000 from former supermodel Cindy Crawford, German media reported.

Edis Kayalar, 26, surrendered to German authorities in November after he was charged in Los Angeles with trying to extort money from Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber over a photo of their 7-year-old daughter gagged and bound to a chair.

The photograph was reportedly taken by the girl's nanny as a private joke when they were playing "cops and robbers" with the girl. It fell into the hands of Kayalar, who was the nanny's friend, according to court documents in Los Angeles.

Judge Joachim Spieth noted that Kayalar had admitted asking for the money even though he said it was not extortion but rather "to cover costs" for his attempt to warn Crawford that the nanny was not a good influence.

"The attempted extortion was at an advanced stage and failed," Spieth told the court in the southwestern town of Kirchheim unter Teck, according to the SWR radio network.

Kayalar, who is German, contacted Crawford last summer and sought to use the photo to get money from the couple, saying tabloids would pay a lot, the court papers said.

Crawford and Gerber contacted authorities, prompting Los Angeles police to launch a criminal probe.

Kayalar was arrested in September and deported to Germany for being in the United States illegally.

But in November he again phoned Crawford and Gerber and demanded $100,000, which led to him being charged with extortion.

(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Mark Trevelyan)

 
<p>Model Cindy Crawford poses at the premiere of "Leatherheads" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California March 31, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>