German heiress' former lover charged with blackmail

12th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Helg Sgarbi, a 43-year-old Swiss, was also charged with fraud and attempted fraud in connection with other cases involving rich women, officials said.

Munich -- The former lover of Germany's richest woman was charged with attempted blackmail on Thursday in connection with videos made of their steamy hotel trysts, the Munich prosecutor's office said.

Helg Sgarbi, a 43-year-old Swiss, was also charged with fraud and attempted fraud in connection with other cases involving rich women, the office said.

He was arrested in January in Austria after BMW heiress Susanne Klatten accused him of trying to extort 290 million euros (377 million dollars) in exchange for the videos, according to press reports.

Klatten, a 46-year-old married mother-of-three, is reputed to have a personal fortune of 7.8 billion euros (10.0 billion dollars) through stakes in automaker BMW and chemicals giant Altana.

She is said to have fallen for the smooth-talking Swiss in 2007 after meeting him in a hotel bar.

Press reports said other wealthy German women also fell victim to Sgarbi's scams in recent years.

AFP/Expatica

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