I’ve been following this story for a couple of days because it’s fascinating. I just couldn’t figure out how to bring it to Jewlicious because there was no Jewish aspect to it.

I am happily wrong.

Welcome to the story of Helg Sgarbi, AKA the Swiss Gigolo, who was sentenced to six years in prison for blackmailing women, particularly Susanne Klatten, heiress to the BMW fortune and one of the wealthiest women in the world.

Helg had a taste for the finer things in life, afforded to him by the successful squiring of a number of very wealthy women.

Sgarbi told the court he had specifically targeted Klatten, laying the groundwork for his scheme when he first met her at a spa near Innsbruck, Austria, in July 2007.

Using what prosecutors called a well-practiced scam, he showed up a month later at her vacation home in the south of France and their affair began. Then he told Klatten that he was involved in a car accident in the United States that left the girl paralyzed, and persuaded Klatten to give him the cash for her treatment.

According to her police statement, Klatten was initially taken aback by the story, but eventually met him in a parking garage to hand over the $9 million in cash, packed in a large cardboard box.

Sgarbi then demanded Klatten leave her family and invest $367 million in a trust for him, according to the indictment. When she refused, he threatened to release secretly filmed videos of their affair.

Sgarbi demanded $62 million not to tell her family, the heads of her companies and the media. He lowered the demand to $17.72 million but Klatten instead went to the police in January 2008. Sgarbi was arrested in Austria’s Tyrolean Alps and has been held in detention since.

Klatten was brave enough to tell her husband about the affair, which is not a small thing considering they have 3 children and she must have been aware she was risking a lot. Then again, she owns 12% of BMW and almost all of a large chemical/pharma concern. She’s said to be worth nearly $10 billion and is listed as Germany’s richest person and the 68th richest person in the world. She’s also a trained economist with an MBA.

Why did she fall for Sgarbi? In testimony she has said, “He was charming, attentive and at the same time he seemed very sad. That stirred a feeling in me that we had something in common.” In another interview, Klatten said, “”There was a moment of clarity. You are a victim now and you have to resist. Otherwise it will never end. I am struggling now in the name of every woman in my family and the names of many other women…. I am glad to have done this.”

Well, most women don’t have 7 million Euros cash to hand over in a parking lot, but I think we get her meaning. As for Sgarbi, who speaks 6 languages, is a lawyer and was an investment banker specializing in mergers and acquisitions, he only received 6 years instead of 10 because he didn’t contest the matter in court and thereby prevented Klatten and three other women he had tricked from having to testify.

There is more. Sgarbi apparently had an accomplice, Ernano Barretta, who apparently runs a sect in Italy of which Sgrabi was a member. Barretta is accused of having helped make the sex tapes of Klatten and Sgarbi – tapes which have disappeared – that Sgarbi was threatening to distribute if Klatten didn’t pay up.

Barretta has told police that there is indeed a Jewish angle to this crime. Klatten is the daughter of Herbert Quandt and granddaughter of Gunther Quandt, who have been accused of using slave labor and helping the Nazi war machine by supplying armaments in WWII. As Barretta told police about Sgarbi, “Helg’s grandfather was Jewish and during the Second World War was deported to a steel works in Germany…Susanne Klatten is the daughter of a close collaborator of Adolf Hitler. We wanted to avenge Helg’s grandfather. I helped him because we’ve been friends all our lives.”

By the way, very little of the many millions Sgarbi collected from his victims has been found. I sense a nice retirement coming for this man after his sojourn in jail.

The big winner in all of this is Holiday Inn. That’s the chain of hotels where Klatten and Sgarbi would meet for their affair.

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  • The 7 million was for the Mafia-off-my-back story. He wanted 49 million Euros for the videos.

    Yes, I think that’s a fair trade off.

  • Middle wouldn’t stop at owning a Beemer, he’d want a piece of the company. Or a piece of the person with a piece of the company.

    Of course, it is a bit of a buzzkill that BMW made the engines for Panzer tanks.

  • Yes! Yes! Why settle for so little? Why stop there when one could also send taunting notes to the cuckolded husband?

  • froylein’s great to hear from on this, ’cause she can explain how German women get suckered like this again and again and again. Is sadness a turn-on for y’all?

  • “Melancholy, Sex and the German Woman Or How to Score your own Heiress and Rolls Royce in just 180 days”

    Written by The Middle with special Foreword by Helg Sgarbi as “suggested” to him by his guru, E Barretta

  • “Who’s The Slave Now, Nazi Bitch”

    Written by the ever attentive, charming, sweet and sad Helg Sgarbi, with special notes by his Videographer, E. Barretta, on best camera placement for capturing the lovely memories of afternoon trysts

  • So Tom, which spas are on your calendar for the next few months? May I suggest Switzerland? There seems to be an opening there.

  • Okay, seriously now, the main victim here is the Husband and if the kids are old enough for their friends to be reading stuff on the Net, the kids as well. How exactly do you keep the relationship going after something like this?

  • Look at the guy.

    THIS is considered handsome in Europe?

    There are no better-looking Swiss gigolos out there?

    Women wealthy enough to have any man they wanted – chose HIM?

    Is this the new fashion in Europe – nerdy accountant fetishes?

    Either that, or he has an enormous (insert nickname from Froylein’s list).

  • B-D, when pics of him appeared all over the media months ago, I did wonder what Klatten had seen in him. I think I’ve sufficiently outlined my preferences in men to demonstrate that this is not what I’d consider handsome.

    Middle, I don’t know; how would you react if your wife owned approximately $12 billion and she’d cheated on you?

  • If my wife was worth $12 billion and cheated on me, I’d go on a long tour of European spas.

    It’s a complicated question because the issue isn’t money but why she felt the need to cheat on him. They have been married since 1990. That’s a loooooong time. Maybe the “attentiveness” of new suitor was something she hadn’t experienced from her husband for a while.

    If that’s the case, then despite the pain involved, it’s probably something they can put behind them with a lot of talking. If the problem is that she just doesn’t feel what she needs to feel for her husband, then it’s an entirely different outcome.

    Even with a pre-nup, I would think that after 19 years of marriage some common property laws come into play.

  • Not in Germany, Middle, if the pre-nup – in advance – lists what might happen to be commonly purchased property (it’s not uncommon that houses are listed in the name of either partner).

    We don’t know any details, maybe we never will, but from what I hear, women of power and intelligent women are often considered intimidating by many men, looked up to best case. I wouldn’t be surprised if a “strong” woman like Klatten enjoyed being able to look up to a man.

    It might also be a gender perception issue. When a male business person is mentioned to have an affair, it’s not necessarily approved but often understood a means of necessity to keep the mood to keep his company running. If you look at notorious post-Enlightment politicians and big business men, affairs have often been treated with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.