BMW heiress victim of new sex blackmail

German police arrested three men suspected of attempting to blackmail Susanne Klatten, the country's wealthiest woman, by claiming they had a secret video of her affair with a Swiss gigolo, prosecutors said today.



Munich state prosecutor Thomas Steinkraus-Koch said the trio had been arrested last week by police in the northern town of Duisburg on suspicion of trying to extort 800,000 euros and a BMW luxury SUV from Klatten, heiress to the BMW empire.

"They sent a letter to her threatening to give the sex video they claimed to have to Italian media if she did not give them 800,000 euros and a BMW," Steinkraus-Koch told Reuters, adding that Klatten immediately forwarded the letter to police.

"We assume the story about the video was contrived. At least we have found no evidence of any such video after searching their apartments and computers. There is nothing to suggest they ever were in possession of such a sex video."

The three men aged 33 to 46 - including one German and one Serb - were contacted by a police officer posing as an acquaintance of Klatten, he said. They set up a contact phone number for the blackmailers and that led to their arrest.

Klatten, a member of the Quandt family - the leading shareholders in carmaker BMW - went public last year with the story of how her Swiss lover secretly shot intimate footage and later demanded tens of million of euros not to reveal it.

Helg Sgarbi, a former Swiss investment banker, was sentenced to six years in jail by a Munich court after he admitted he had seduced Klatten and three other wealthy women. He persuaded them to pay him nearly 10 million euros under various false pretexts.

Sgarbi, a Swiss army lieutenant, won over Klatten, a 46-year-old married mother of three, at a health centre.

She later handed him a cardboard box containing 7 million euros in 500 euro notes, believing he had paralysed a child in a traffic accident in America and was in need of the money.

Klatten ended the relationship after Sgarbi, 44, demanded more money. He responded by threatening to send photos and tapes of their hotel-room rendezvous to colleagues, family and media unless she gave him 49 million euros. She then went to police.

Klatten's wealth is estimated by Forbes magazine at almost $10 billion, making her the 68th richest person in the world.

The Quandt dynasty had close ties to the Nazi party and built its fortune supplying German army and railway worker uniforms. The first wife of Klatten's grandfather went on to marry Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

In March, a truck driver from Bochum tried to blackmail Klatten with a similar claim. He was seeking 75,000 euros and is now on trial in Munich for attempted blackmail.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'