US & Canada

Fiat heir will not face prosecution over 'fake kidnap'

Lapo Elkann in front of a Fiat Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption US officials have said Fiat heir Lapo Elkann will not be prosecuted

An heir to the Fiat fortune, who was accused of falsely claiming he had been kidnapped by a transgender prostitute, will not be prosecuted, officials say.

Lapo Elkann was accused of ringing his family from New York to demand $10,000 (£8,000) "to guarantee his safety".

He was arrested after being found safe, but the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said it had now declined to prosecute, giving no further details.

A lawyer for Mr Elkann said his client was grateful justice had prevailed.

Mr Elkann - the great-great-grandson of Giovanni Agnelli, who founded Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, or Fiat, in 1899 - was arrested in November.

'Exhaustive investigation'

He told New York City police he had been held against his will at a Manhattan apartment for more than 24 hours.

He was found outside a public housing complex in New York and was arrested on a misdemeanour charge of falsely reporting an incident.

Mr Elkann had been due to appear in court on Wednesday before the charge was dropped.

His lawyer, Randy Zelin, said Mr Elkann now wanted to leave the episode behind him.

"The district attorney's office conducted a thorough and exhaustive investigation and determined my client had not done anything criminally," Mr Zelin added.

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