A Polish citizen has been charged with kidnapping a 20-year-old British model in what the Italian authorities said Saturday was part of a scheme to sell the woman on a pornography website.
The model, whom the State Police in Italy did not identify, was drugged, handcuffed and locked in a travel bag after being taken hostage in Milan on July 11, according to a statement issued by the authorities.
The kidnapper had demanded that the woman’s agent pay a $300,000 ransom to prevent her from being sold, the statement said.
The model was released after six days and was “accompanied to the British consulate in Milan,” according to the police statement.
“Further investigations are ongoing,” the police said, “in order to identify possible accomplices” and clarify the motive. The statement said a second man had also been involved in the kidnapping, but did not elaborate.
The day after the woman was freed, a 30-year-old Polish citizen was arrested, according to the police. The statement did not identify the man but said he lived in Britain. The Associated Press, citing the Italian authorities, identified him as Lukasz Pawel Herba.
Multiple news outlets also reported that Mr. Herba was the man who had accompanied the model to the British consulate, though it was not clear why.
The woman had come to Milan on July 10 for a photo shoot that was scheduled for the next day, the police said. But when she entered an apartment for the shoot, she was “attacked by two men,” the authorities said.
Using encrypted accounts, the woman’s abductors threatened to auction her online and demanded the $300,000 ransom to stop the sale.
Investigators said the 30-year-old Polish citizen had previously organized similar online auctions in which he advertised abducted young women for sale as “prey.”
They cautioned, however, that it was not clear whether the man had actually kidnapped other victims.
The woman was released the morning of July 17, but the police did not say why. They also said they did not believe a ransom had been paid. – Reuters