Two men have been arrested for blackmailing Lapo Elkann, the Italian entrepreneur and founder of trendy eyewear and lifestyle brand Italia Independent, bringing the total number of people involved in the case to three. A spokeswoman for Elkann acknowledged the arrests of Fabrizio Pensa and Giovanni Bellavista, but declined to comment on the case against them.
Bellavista is the brother of Enrico Bellavista, a waiter who, as reported, was arrested last December while waiting to receive about $111,000 from an Elkann associate at a Milan hotel. The Bellavista duo and photographer Pensa had already received about $37,000 from Elkann and were allegedly trying to up their demands; they all face charges of blackmail and attempted blackmail.
Local media reports indicate that Pensa and the Bellavista brothers took Elkann into their home last year after finding him wandering the streets either drunk or high, and proceeded to film him “in compromising situations.” After initially paying them off to shield his family from negative publicity, Elkann reported the trio to the police when their demands escalated.