CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Lapo Elkann has been victim of blackmail.

The Italian entrepreneur and founder of Italia Independent, paid a sum of around $37,000 a few months ago to a waiter, Enrico Bellavista, to avoid the publication of an allegedly compromising video that was filmed in June by the waiter in his apartment. Bellavista, 31, was arrested last week in a Milanese hotel where he was waiting for an Elkann associate to deliver him about $111,000.

This story first appeared in the December 8, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

According to Italian authorities, Elkann was trying to reach a friend’s house in the north of Milan over the summer after having “many cocktails,” when he ran into Bellavista, who offered to host him in his apartment in the neighborhood.

On Saturday, Elkann’s attorney Giovannandrea Anfora released a statement challenging Bellavista’s claims of Elkann’s alleged behavior in the apartment. The video has now been seized by the Italian Police.

According to media reports, Elkann told public prosecutor Giancarla Serafini, the authority in charge of the case, that he was “tired of the continuous media pillory” and that he decided to pay the blackmailers because he was “worried about his family’s public image.”

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