Germany's richest woman's fight against sex video blackmailers

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KlattenSo did you hear the one about the BMW heiress who made a sex video? Germany's wealthiest woman, who is worth $13.2 billion, was lured into an affair by a Swiss hunk. Thus began, if you'll pardon the phrase, the dirtiest game of blackmail Whac-A-Mole ever played.

Susanne Klatten, who owns 12% of the luxury car maker plus half of a pharmaceutical giant, is a fabulously wealthy, probably fabulously bored wife and mother of three. She and Helg Sgarbi, her Swiss cad, spiced up their little affair by shooting a sex video in room 630 of the Holiday Inn in Munich, Germany.

What she didn't know, says The Daily Beast, was that Sgarbi made a rich life out of seducing bored, rich women. He amassing "gifts" of €10 million from four of them.

When 47-year-old Klatten balked at his attempts to extract any more than €7 million from her, Sgarbi demanded €49 million (about $70 million) to keep their video sex romp a secret. Klatten immediately fessed up to her cuckolded husband and sent the police after her erstwhile blackmailing lover.

Swiss Boy went to prison. She thought it was the end of it. But soon enough, Klatten was being blackmailed again by a German truck driver, this time for €75,000. He said Sgarbi had given him the 38-minute lovefest in jail. Once again, Klatten wouldn't play, and she got another blackmailer into cuffs.

Done, right?

Wrong. In July, three more people were arrested for sending Klatten a letter demanding €800,000 and a BMW off-road vehicle in exchange for their silence. The bait, once again, was a letter claiming they held a copy of that pesky DVD.

There's more than enough stupidity to go around in this case. First to Klatten for doing the deed to begin with, of course. But more idiocy belongs to the succession of would-be blackmailers, who not only saw their predecessors fail to obtain their cash but also saw them clapped into prison for trying.Klatten is apparently trying to combat this pesky porno problem in a way that makes sense to a powerful industrialist: by wielding her influence and hiring the best lawyers that money can buy.

May I suggest fighting it with honesty instead?

Ultimately, there comes a point when you have to face up to the responsibility of your actions. Whether it was under false pretenses or not, she slept with the guy. He made a video. Everyone in Germany knows about it now, so there's not much face left to save. The minute that video is released, it loses its power.

If she lived in America and I were giving her media coaching, I'd tell her to let it loose. Then call Barbara Walters for an on-camera mea culpa. Apologize, shrug it off, tearfully explain what was learned. She may lose her dignity, but she'll regain her freedom.

Just ask former sex tape stars Rob Lowe, Pamela Anderson, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, and Screech from Saved By the Bell. It only stings for a little while (except for the viewers of the Screech one -- that hurts forever). It's unfortunate for the participants, perhaps, but sex videos are so common now as to nearly outnumber Blockbuster outlets. Does anyone even remember that Colin Farrell and Fred Durst have appeared in their own celebrity sex tapes?

In a few months, if Klatten can face her high-society friends, no one will care anymore, but her bank account will be intact.

As for the rest of us -- those without BMW fortunes behind us -- there's a simpler solution. Don't make sex tapes. Don't take nude photos, either, especially in an age when you can copy one by the thousands in a microsecond.

And if you do, for heaven's sake, people, don't show your faces.
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