Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Swiss man jailed for sex blackmail of BMW heiress
Mon Mar 9, 2009 3:00pm EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By John O'Donnell
MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - A former Swiss investment banker was jailed for six years on Monday for trying to blackmail Germany's wealthiest woman, heiress to the BMW car empire, with secret video of their lovemaking.
Helg Sgarbi admitted at the start of his trial that he had seduced heiress Susanne Klatten and three other wealthy women, persuading them to pay him almost 10 million euros ($12.64 million) under various false pretexts.
"I regret what I did," Sgarbi, 44, told the Munich court, with little emotion. "I apologize to the women involved."
Klatten, a member of the Quandt family -- the leading shareholders in carmaker BMW -- went public last year with the story of how her lover secretly shot intimate footage and later demanded tens of million of euros not to reveal it.
Sgarbi's admission spares Klatten, who is rarely seen in public, a court appearance.
The 46-year-old married mother-of-three had first met the Swiss army lieutenant at a health center, state prosecutors told a crowded court.
Posing as a special envoy for war zones, Sgarbi won over Klatten by sending her text messages and phoning her with declarations of his love.
She later handed him a cardboard box containing 7 million euros in 500 euro notes, believing he had paralyzed a child in a traffic accident in America and needed the money to pay compensation to avoid being jailed.
Klatten ended the relationship after the married father demanded more money. He responded by threatening to send photos and tapes of their hotel-room rendezvous to colleagues, family and the press unless she handed over 49 million euros.
Leafing through the defendant's curriculum vitae, judge Gilbert Wolf read from a glowing job reference from investment bank Credit Suisse, describing Sgarbi's role there as a specialist in mergers and acquisitions.
State prosecutor Thomas Steinkraus-Koch had called for a tougher sentence of nine years in prison.
"Where is the money? Where are the tapes? And who are the accomplices?" he asked the defendant.
Klatten's wealth is estimated by Forbes magazine at almost $10 billion, making her the 68th richest person in the world.
She owns just over half of the chemical company Altana as well as 12.5 percent of BMW.
Newspapers had reported that Sgarbi had sought to justify his actions as revenge for his Jewish grandfather's forced labor in Quandt family factories during the war. But no mention was made of this claim on Monday. Continued...
View article on single page
Spain fund to loan 500 mln euros to Unicaja -source
Also On Reuters
Analysis: Board directors go from glitz to grind
BMW aims to put rocket science in your car
Blog: Apple, Google ... who's next for the Dow?
More International News
Dalai Lama to demand Tibet autonomy, mourn past
Iran says U.S. failing in Afghanistan
Brown says killings will not stop N.Irish progress
Tsvangirai rules out foul play in car crash
North Korea says on full combat readiness
More International News...
Gigolo blackmailed BMW heiress
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
Buffett says economy fell off cliff
Who got AIG's bailout billions?
Buffett says economy fell off cliff, fears inflation
"Watchmen" falls short of expected box office take
UPDATE 2-Pressure may mount to know who got AIG bailout blns
US STOCKS-Banks to hit Wall St open, overshadow Merck deal
AIG warned of global turmoil before rescue: report
Merck to buy Schering-Plough for $41.1 billion | Video
Exxon aims for big role in Iraq's oil sector
U.S. healthcare system pinched by nursing shortage
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Soldiers shot dead in N Ireland
Sri Lanka fighting intensifies
Pastor shot dead in U.S. church
Russian 'gunrunner' in Thai court
Thousands flee cyclone Hamish
Ex-Israel head faces rape charge
Korea drill row escalates
For perennial test taker, a 44th try
Dalai Lama 50 years in exile
Baghdad police attacked, many killed
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
The Great Debate
Setback for America’s pro-Israel hawks
There are signs that the influence of Washington's right-wing pro-Israel lobby might be waning under the administration of President Obama. Commentary
Follow Bernd Debusmann on Twitter
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Reuters in Second Life |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.