'Swiss gigolo' jailed for six years

Conman found guilty of fraud and attempted blackmail of Germany's richest woman.

    Susanne Klatten was listed by Forbes magazine in 2008 as the 68th richest person in the world [AFP]

    "I regret what I did," he told the court. "I apologise to the women involved."

    Demands

    Sgarbi, who targeted rich, lonely women, told his lovers he was a special Swiss envoy in crisis zones.

    He began an affair with Klatten, who has a personal fortune of around $9.6bn, after meeting her at an exclusive spa near Innsbruck, Austria, in July 2007.

    After convincing her to give him money for a girl he said had been left paralysed in a car accident he had caused, he began to demand that the married mother-of-three leave her family and invest $367m in a trust for them to begin a new life together.

    When she refused, he threatened to release secret videos of an intimate encounter in a hotel room, and demanded another $62m not to tell her family, later dropping the amount to $17.7m.

    But Klatten reported him to the police in January 2008, and he was arrested shortly afterwards.

    Other victims

    Sgarbi was also convicted of taking $3m from three other women, whose names were not released, in similar scams.

    Thomas Steinkraus-Koch, prosecutor in the case, praised Klatten for coming forward about Sgarbi's attempted blackmail.

    "The only victim who came to us and gave a witness statement is Mrs Klatten," he said. "We had to find the others, with great difficulty".

    Klatten, the daughter of the late BMW magnate Herbert Quandt, holds a 12.5 per cent stake in the car maker.

    She also owns a 88.3 per cent share of chemical company Altana.

    Last year, Forbes magazine listed her as the 68th richest person in the world.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.