A BRITISH model was put up for auction on the internet with a starting bid of USD$353,000 (A$445,000) after being kidnapped and drugged when she showed up to a sham photoshoot in Milan.
Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera reports the 20-year-old model who has not been named was lured to a fake photo shoot on July 11.
It emerged this morning how the woman was drugged, handcuffed and loaded into a vehicle boot in Milan before being driven 200km to a farmhouse in Turin where she was kept for six days.
She was allegedly assaulted and drugged when she arrived at the studio the next day, then placed in a auto boot and taken to a small village near Turin where she was kept prisoner by Lukasz Pawel Herba, a British resident born in Poland, police said.
The kidnapper used an encrypted account to ask the model's agent for £230,000 ($300,000) to stop her from being sold in auction.
Italian police said they are working with officials in Britain and Poland as they continue to investigate.More news: Some Rides Reopened At Ohio State Fair
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No one took part in the online auction, so it was unclear if Herba had the necessary contacts to organise such an operation of was something of a fantasist, according to the police.
He has been charged with kidnapping for the purposes of extortion.
Police said she was held for a week in abandoned offices in the city and officers are now looking for accomplices.
While it is unclear why the kidnapping came to an end, it is the reported the 20-year-old was released because she had a two-year-old child and the gang's "rules" prevent them from kidnapping and trafficking mothers.
Police said they were not sure if the group actually existed.
On July 17, for reasons that are not clear, Herba drove the woman back to Milan and released her close to the British Consulate, where he was arrested.