Lapo Elkann, grandson of late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli, was arrested and charged in New York with falsely reporting an incident, police said on Tuesday after media reported that he was suspected of faking his own kidnapping.

The police spokesman said there was an investigation into an "unlawful imprisonment" which turned out to be false information. He said Elkann, 39, had been released following the charge and the matter was now in court. He had no other details.

American and Italian newspapers quoted unidentified police sources, including in New York, that Elkann had allegedly faked his own kidnapping over the weekend after he ran out of cash during a Thanksgiving weekend bash in the city.

Elkann's publicist declined to comment. The Agnelli family's investment holding Exor had no comment.

Elkann, who is also the brother of Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann and heir to Italy's biggest industrial dynasty, nearly died of a drug overdose in 2005 after collapsing in the apartment of a transsexual prostitute.

In 2007 he founded sunglasses company Italia Independent, which debuted on the Milan stock market in 2013.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in New York and Agnieszka Flak in Milan; editing by Mark Heinrich)