British model Chloe Ayling faked her kidnapping for a "publicity stunt", one of her alleged kidnappers has claimed.
The 20-year-old model is said to have been snatched by a group calling itself Black Death after being lured to a fake modelling shoot in Milan in July.
But one of her alleged kidnappers, Michal Herba, 36, is fighting extradition to Italy with his lawyer claiming the entire case could be a "sham".
Herba was arrested in the West Midlands by the National Crime Agency (NCA) on a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Italian authorities last month.
He appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London yesterday.
His younger brother Lucasz Herba, 30, is already in custody in Italy, having been arrested after delivering Ayling to the British Embassy on July 17, six days after she was allegedly kidnapped. He has said he did not knowingly take part in any crime.
Prosecutor Florence Iveson said Michal Herba has been requested by the court of Milan in relation to a single offence of kidnapping arising from events between July 11 and 17.
"The allegation is that Mr Herba acted in complicity with his brother, Lukasz Herba, and other unidentified persons to kidnap the victim in Milan," she said.
"It is said she was drugged and kidnapped and a €300,000 ransom was demanded."
But Herba's lawyer, George Hepburne Scott, raised questions over the account given by Ayling, of Coulsdon, south London, who claims she was drugged and bundled into the boot of a car after being tricked into attending the bogus photoshoot in Milan on July 11.
"There is a real risk that the entire case is a sham," he said.
Referring to "open source material", Scott said: "The same complainant, it seems, generated publicity from the fact she was nearby the scene of a terrorist attack at the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
"Prior to the release of the complainant, the kidnapper apparently issued a press release to a tabloid newspaper setting out that this lady was being held for auction."
The lawyer also pointed to an alleged incident during which Ayling and her captor went shopping for shoes, calling it a "wholly anomalous feature of a hostage situation".
She also went to breakfast with the kidnapper before her release when the pair found the British consulate was closed, Scott added.
"It would amount to an abuse of process of the court if there was any evidence to suggest this was a publicity stunt," he told the judge.
"This case has a unique set of anomalies which might lead to the conclusion that the Italian authorities have been duped and that their process has been abused."
District Judge Paul Goldspring pointed out much of the material relied on by Scott came from press reports, which he said did not prove any of the theories in the case. He will give his ruling on Friday.