John Paul Getty III was buying a comic book from a newsstand at 3 a.m. on the Piazza Farnese in Rome when he was knocked unconscious and abducted. He was 16-years-old – and he was the rebellious grandson of billionaire Jean Paul Getty.
When his father, John Paul Getty Jr. couldn’t pay the ransom of $17m, the boy’s fate fell to his wealthy grandfather, Jean Paul Getty. Indeed, J. Paul, as he was known, had been named the “richest living American” by Fortune magazine in 1957 and the “world’s richest private citizen” by the Guinness Book of Records in 1966.
Hence, J. Paul possessed ample funds to pay the ransom. However, he decided to hold off. Indeed, he suspected that the kidnapping might be a ruse. Moreover, he considered the price to be too steep – and $17m was a lot of money in 1973. When adjusted for inflation, the sum would be worth close to $100m today. So he decided to wait and see what would happen.