The heir to one of Italy's biggest fortunes was charged with allegedly faking his own kidnapping

An heir to one of Italy’s largest industrial dynasties was arrested over the weekend after allegedly faking his own kidnapping following a drug binge, the New York Times reports.

Lapo Elkann, a fashion designer and heir to the billion-dollar Fiat fortune, was arrested in Manhattan on Sunday after police were called to a public housing project. Elkann originally claimed that he had been unlawfully imprisoned, but was subsequently arrested on suspicion of making a false police report.

Elkan, 39, allegedly flew to New York on Thursday, and spent two days holed up with a male escort in the housing project. The pair reportedly consumed alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine until they ran out of money.

At that point, a New York Police Department (NYPD) source told the Daily Beast, Elkann devised a kidnapping plot: he reportedly warned his relatives that a woman was holding him against his will, and that he would be hurt if they did not pay a $10,000 (£8,000) ransom. Elkann’s family informed the NYPD, according to the source, and officers lured both men to a location to pick up the cash.

Officers then arrested the pair, but Elkann was released from police custody and his court appearance is scheduled for January, according to the Daily Beast. His companion was reportedly released without charge.

After his grandfather Gianni Agnelli died in 2003, Elkann became the public face of Fiat, serving as its marketing manager and credited with reviving the brand. Like his grandfather, he is known for his influential style and playboy antics, frequently sharing photos of his jetsetting lifestyle:

He has been in trouble with the law before, too. In 2006, he was allegedly found unconscious in the apartment of a transsexual prostitute and subsequently charged with alleged cocaine use and soliciting prostitution.

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