Brother of suspect in UK model kidnap plot denies involvement – lawyer



LONDON (Reuters) – A man accused of being part of a plot to kidnap a British model in Milan denied any involvement in the alleged scheme and will fight extradition from Britain to Italy, his lawyer told a London court on Thursday.

Model Chloe Ayling, 20, has told Italian police she was held captive for six days last month after being lured to a photo shoot in Italy where she was abducted. Her lawyer said the plot was to sell the model for sex in an online auction unless a ransom was paid.

Italian police arrested the alleged kidnapper, Polish-born Lukasz Pawel Herba, 30, and on Wednesday, British police detained his brother Michal in central England on behalf of the Italian authorities.

Florence Iveson, the prosecutor acting on behalf of the Italian authorities, told London’s Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday the two brothers were accused of abducting, kidnapping and detaining Ayling between July 11 and 17.

“It is said the victim was drugged, taken from Milan to Lemie and kept there until July 17, and ransom in the sum of 300,000 euros ($352,000) was demanded,” Iveson said.

Michal Herba, 36, declined to give his consent to extradition when he appeared in the dock. “No evidence has been served in this case. Mr Herba denies involvement,” his lawyer Katherine Newey said.

He made no application for bail and was remanded in custody until his next hearing on Aug. 23. A full extradition hearing was scheduled for Sept. 25.

“I am satisfied there are substantial grounds to believe that if I was to release you today you would fail to surrender,” judge Tan Ikram told him.

Ayling has given a number of TV and press interviews since returning to Britain, saying she was drugged, gagged, bound, stuffed into a bag, put into the boot of a car and driven to a village near Turin in northwest Italy.

She denied suggestions the case was a hoax, after it was reported she had gone shopping with her alleged abductor.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Costas Pitas and Mark Trevelyan


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