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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Case of British model kidnapped in Italy may be ‘a sham’, lawyer says

A lawyer representing suspect Michal Herba suggested Chloe Ayling’s kidnapping claims could have been fabricated

British model Chloe Ayling claimed she was kidnapped by a group who were planning on selling her into sex slavery. Invicta Kent Media / Rex / Shutterstock
British model Chloe Ayling claimed she was kidnapped by a group who were planning on selling her into sex slavery. Invicta Kent Media / Rex / Shutterstock

A case involving a British model, who claims she was kidnapped in Milan after being lured there on the pretence of a photo shoot, could be “a sham”.

Chloe Ayling from London, made international headlines in August when she said that she had been drugged, stuffed into suitcase and detained by criminals in Italy, who planned to sell her into sex slavery unless her agent paid a 300,000 euro (Dh1.3m) ransom.

The 20-year-old was released by one of her captors, suspect Lukasz Herba, to the British consulate in Milan on July 17, six days after the reported kidnap. Herba, a Polish national who resides in Britain, is currently in custody in Italy, while his brother Michal Herba was arrested in the UK for alleged involvement.

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Read more:

UK model recounts abduction in a suitcase in Italy

The curious case of the glamour model, the fantasist, the Dark Web and the Black Death gang

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George Hepburne Scott, the lawyer representing Michal Herba, who is fighting extradition to Italy, told a court in London on Monday that Ms Ayling’s claims could have been fabricated.

Mr Scott said: “There is a real risk that the entire case is a sham.”

"This case has a unique set of anomalies which might lead to the conclusion that the Italian authorities have been duped and that their process has been abused," he added.

Herba’s lawyer made special reference to Ms Ayling’s claim that she had gone out shoe shopping with one of her captors, which he said was a “wholly anomalous feature of a hostage situation”.

“It would amount to an abuse of process of the court if there was any evidence to suggest this was a publicity stunt,” he said.

Mr Scott called into question the model’s reliability, saying that she had previously “generated publicity from the fact she was nearby the scene of a terrorist attack at the Champs Élysées in Paris.”

Ms Ayling, who has made numerous media appearances since her alleged kidnapping, said she feared for her life during the ordeal.

A ruling on Herba’s extradition is expected on Friday.