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CALIFORNIA : Model is allegedly targeted : A man is being sought in an extortion attempt on Cindy Crawford and her husband.

November 13, 2009|Victoria Kim

Federal authorities on Thursday charged a German man in an extortion scheme in which he allegedly demanded money from model Cindy Crawford and her husband.

The man allegedly threatened to hand over to the media a photo of their then-7-year-old daughter gagged and tied to a chair.

Edis "Eddie" Kayalar, who was recently deported, has not been arrested, authorities said. A warrant was issued in Los Angeles, and officials are in contact with German authorities, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. He is believed to be in Stuttgart, Germany.

According to an FBI affidavit, Crawford and her husband, entrepreneur Rande Gerber, first got a call from Kayalar in July. The man told them he had a "sexy" photograph of their daughter in revealing clothing, and later asked to meet.

Kayalar told Gerber that he stole the photo from the child's nanny, who had recently been fired by the couple. According to the affidavit, the nanny, who was not named, showed him the photo and said: "Do you know how much this picture is worth?"

Kayalar initially asked Crawford and Gerber for an unspecified amount of money, saying he was broke and that he could get a lot of money by selling the photo to the tabloids. Gerber took the photo and gave Kayalar $1,000 in cash "for his trouble," the affidavit stated.

When the man called again demanding more money, saying he had another copy of the photograph, sheriff's officials contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement and determined that Kayalar was in the United States illegally. He was arrested and deported in September but continued his threats from Germany, later asking for $100,000.

Crawford and Gerber released a statement saying the photo was taken by the nanny as part of "a purported game," and that they "intend to pursue any and all available legal action against anyone who aids the perpetrator in the distribution or sale of the photograph of their daughter."

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victoria.kim@latimes.com

Times staff writer Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.

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