BERLIN (AFP) – A German man who tried to blackmail Cindy Crawford over a photograph showing the supermodel's young daughter gagged and bound was sentenced Tuesday to two years behind bars.
Edis Kayalar, 26, was found guilty of one count of extortion and two counts of attempted extortion after he demanded more than 100,000 dollars (74,000 euros) from Crawford, a court near the southern German city of Stuttgart ruled.
The shaven-headed Kayalar, wearing a grey shirt and skinny black tie, covered his face with a pink folder to avoid photographers in the court.
The Crawfords' daughter, Kaia, seven years old at the time, told her parents, who were unaware of the image, that her nanny had taken the photograph at the family home in the United States as part of a "Cops and Robbers" game.
Kayalar, a friend of the nanny, took possession of the photo and warned Crawford and her businessman husband Rande Gerber that he would sell the picture to tabloid newspapers unless they paid him.
The couple paid him 1,000 dollars last July and received the photo in return. But two days later, Kayalar allegedly claimed to have a digital copy of the picture and demanded more money.
This time, Crawford, 44, and Gerber, 48, reported the extortion attempt, triggering an FBI investigation in the United States.
Prosecutors say Kayalar, a professional model according to entertainment site TMZ.com, demanded another 5,000 dollars in September but he was deported soon afterwards due to immigration law violations.
He then phoned the couple in November and demanded they transfer 100,000 dollars to his bank account in Germany.
But Kayalar then became worried the money would raise eyebrows with social welfare authorities as he was receiving unemployment benefits and went to Turkey, allegedly to open a separate bank account for the money from Crawford.
When he saw that the case had hit the local newspapers, Kayalar feared arrest in Turkey so he quickly returned to Germany and turned himself in to police.
Crawford, formerly married to Hollywood heart-throb Richard Gere, has been married to Gerber since 1998. They have two children together.