Yoko Ono's Chauffeur Arrested, Accused Of Extortion

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NEW YORK (December 14, 2006) — A chauffeur for Yoko Ono was arrested Wednesday for trying to extort $2 million from her by threatening to circulate embarrassing photos of her, and he also spoke of killing her and son Sean Lennon, police said.

Koral Karsan was arrested after Ono reported the plot, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. Charges were pending.

Karsan, while being led into a police station, denied trying to extort Ono.

“No,” he said. “No way.”

The security staff for Ono, the widow of John Lennon, told detectives that Karsan, who lives in Amityville, wrote in a rambling note to her that he had secretly photographed her and made audiotapes of her in private moments. Karsan warned he would make the material public if she didn’t pay him, police said.

Ono spokesman Eliot Mintz said Karsan had worked for Lennon’s widow for at least six years, driving her on an almost daily basis when she was in New York.

“She is one woman who has been through enough,” Mintz said. “For an employee — especially a trusted employee who drove her — to attempt a shakedown has left her just absolutely shocked.”

On Dec. 8, the 26th anniversary of Lennon’s killing, Karsan dropped off the note and a photo of Ono in nightclothes at the Dakota apartment building, where the former Beatle once lived with her and where she still resides, police said.

Karsan, 50, talked about killing her, her son and himself during a later conversation with one of her associates, which was recorded by investigators, police said.

The audiotapes of Ono were apparently recorded while she was speaking on a phone in the car with Karsan at the wheel, Mintz said.

“You’re reminded that this takes place around that time of the anniversary, when she is in a particularly vulnerable position,” Mintz said. “It just adds insult to injury. This one’s really cold.”

On the night of Dec. 8, 1980, Lennon was returning with Ono to the Dakota from a recording studio when Mark David Chapman opened fire with a .38-caliber revolver, hitting him four times.

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