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Police: Fiat scion arrested after false report in New York

Associated Press logo Associated Press 11/29/2016 By JAKE PEARSON, Associated Press
FILE- In this Sept. 5, 2015 file photo, Italian entrepreneur Lapo Elkann smokes prior to the start of the third practice session for Sunday's Formula One Italian Grand Prix, at the Monza racetrack, Italy. Police in New York City say the grandson of the Italian founder of Fiat Automobiles was arrested on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, after falsely claiming an escort held him against his will. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File) © The Associated Press FILE- In this Sept. 5, 2015 file photo, Italian entrepreneur Lapo Elkann smokes prior to the start of the third practice session for Sunday's Formula One Italian Grand Prix, at the Monza racetrack, Italy. Police in New York City say the grandson of the Italian founder of Fiat Automobiles was arrested on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, after falsely claiming an escort held him against his will. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The stylish grandson of the Italian founder of Fiat Automobiles falsely claimed he was held against his will by an escort with whom he had spent two days consuming drugs and alcohol in New York, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

FILE- In this Sept. 24, 2016 file photo, Lapo Elkann poses for photographers as he arrives for the amfAR charity dinner during the fashion week in Milan, Italy. The stylish grandson of the Italian founder of Fiat Automobiles was arrested on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, outside a Manhattan public housing complex. Police said he falsely claimed an escort held him against his will and he demanded $10,000 from his family to guarantee his safety. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File) © The Associated Press FILE- In this Sept. 24, 2016 file photo, Lapo Elkann poses for photographers as he arrives for the amfAR charity dinner during the fashion week in Milan, Italy. The stylish grandson of the Italian founder of Fiat Automobiles was arrested on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, outside a Manhattan public housing complex. Police said he falsely claimed an escort held him against his will and he demanded $10,000 from his family to guarantee his safety. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File)

Lapo Elkann, 39, was arrested Saturday night outside a Manhattan public housing complex after his family contacted police, telling them Elkann had demanded $10,000 from them "to guarantee his safety," the official said.

A person walks on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2016, past the residential building in New York where police say Lapo Elkann, a grandson of the Italian founder of Fiat Automobiles, was arrested on Saturday. Elkann falsely claimed an escort held him against his will at the building. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) © The Associated Press A person walks on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2016, past the residential building in New York where police say Lapo Elkann, a grandson of the Italian founder of Fiat Automobiles, was arrested on Saturday. Elkann falsely claimed an escort held him against his will at the building. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Investigators determined Elkann concocted the whole story and made up the false imprisonment tale after he ran out of money following his two-day encounter with the escort, said the official, who wasn't authorized to discuss an ongoing case and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A person walks on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2016, past the residential building in New York where police say Lapo Elkann, a grandson of the Italian founder of Fiat Automobiles, was arrested on Saturday. Elkann falsely claimed an escort held him against his will at the building. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) © The Associated Press A person walks on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2016, past the residential building in New York where police say Lapo Elkann, a grandson of the Italian founder of Fiat Automobiles, was arrested on Saturday. Elkann falsely claimed an escort held him against his will at the building. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Elkann was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting an incident. He was given a ticket and is due back in court Jan. 25.

He hasn't returned a message seeking comment. His publicist, Alessia Margiotta Broglio, declined to comment.

Elkann made headlines in Italy in 2005 after he was hospitalized for a drug overdose in the Italian city of Turin. He told an Italian TV interviewer two years later that his past cocaine use had been a "mistake."

"The mistake I made was to use cocaine during my life," he said then.

Elkann's design company, Italia Independent, dropped to historic lows on reports of his arrest, hitting 2.70 euros per share in Milan trading Tuesday. A company spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

Elkann, who was born in New York City, is the grandson of Gianni Agnelli, who for decades ran Turin-based Fiat Automobiles SpA and its affiliated companies. He is part of the shareholding family but has no role in the company.

In recent years he has focused on design, with his Italia Independent company most famous for carbon fiber sunglasses. He also has designed furniture and collaborated on a Gucci design for the new Fiat 500.

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Associated Press writer Colleen Barry contributed to this report from Milan, Italy.

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