BMW heiress victim of new sex blackmail

Author: By Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters

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.

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