The lawyer for a man who is a suspect for the alleged kidnapping of a British model in Italy claimed on Monday that the entire case could be a “sham”.
The model, Chloe Ayling, said she was drugged, kidnapped and stuffed into a suitcase in Italy after being invited to a fake modeling shoot in July.
Michal Herba is accused of conspiring with his brother Lukasz Pawel Herba to kidnap the 20-year-old model, according to the BBC.
“The allegation is that Mr. Herba acted in complicity with his brother, Lukasz Herba, and other unidentified persons to kidnap the victim in Milan,” said prosecutor Florence Iveson, per the BBC.
“It is said she was drugged and kidnapped and a 300,000 euros (355,000 USD) ransom was demanded.”
Lukasz Herba, 30, a Polish citizen is in custody in Italy on suspicion of kidnapping, while his brother Michal Herba has been in custody since his arrest in the West Midlands, UK, over his alleged involvement.
Speaking at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London, Michal Herba’s lawyer, George Hepburne Scott said there was “a real risk that the entire case is a sham,” per the BBC.
“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 said to district Judge Paul Goldspring.
“Prior to the release of the complainant, the kidnapper apparently issued a press release to a tabloid newspaper setting out that this lady was being held for auction,” Scott said.
The judge pointed out that just because the material that Scott referred to had appeared in the media, it did not make them true, said Reuters.
“Some believe it to be a sham,” the judge said. “This material doesn’t prove that.”
Michal Herba has a heavily pregnant girlfriend in the UK, and his lawyers said that his extradition may breach his right to a family life under the Human Rights Act, per the BBC.
The case continues.