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Gigolo blackmailing BMW heiress to face trial by March

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Gigolo blackmailing BMW heiress to face trial by March
File photo of Susanne Klatten. Photo: DPA
09:00 CET+01:00
The jailed gigolo accused of blackmailing Germany's richest woman will face a Munich court by March of 2009, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday.

The 43-year-old Swiss man, Helg Sgarbi, will stand trial on two charges of blackmail and four counts of fraud, the paper reported.

Susanne Klatten, the heiress to the Quandt family BMW fortune, turned in her former beau after he demanded a reported €14 million to keep secretly taped videos of their liaisons to himself. He had already coaxed €7 million from the 46-year-old by claiming the mafia was after him for supposedly harming a young girl in an accident.

Worth an estimated €13 billion, Klatten told German daily Financial Times Deutschland last week that turning in her hornswoggling ex-lover was a difficult choice but was necessary to protect her family and defend women against similar situations in the future. She also said the media blitz surrounding the investigation of former lover Helg Sgarbi made her a "victim for a second time" but also brought relief.

"It was a moment of clarity: you're a victim and you have to defend yourself. I fought back in the name of all women in my family and in the name of many other women as well," Klatten told the paper.

Klatten inherited a major stake in German carmaker BMW from her father and is also owner of Altana, a German chemicals group. Her husband, with whom she has three children, has reportedly stood at her side during the ordeal.

Sgarbi is reportedly a member of a gang of romeos that launched love affairs with rich European women in order to blackmail them for millions and will be held in a Munich jail until trial.

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