Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Yoko Ono's driver accused of extortion

Yoko Ono's driver allegedly threatened to expose embarrassing photos.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Yoko Ono's chauffeur has been arrested for trying to extort $2 million from her by threatening to circulate embarrassing photos of her, said police.

The alleged extortionist has also spoke of killing her and her son Sean Lennon, police said.

Detectives from Manhattan arrested Koral Karsan on Long Island, New York, on Wednesday afternoon after Ono reported the plot, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.

Charges were pending.

There was no immediate response to a telephone message left at Karsan's home in Amityville, New York, and it was unclear if he had a lawyer.

The security staff for the widow of Beatle John Lennon told detectives that the Turkish-born Karsan wrote her in a rambling note that he had secretly photographed her.

The security staff also said Karsan had made audiotapes of Ono in private moments and warned he would make the material public if she didn't pay him, police said.

On December 8, the 26th anniversary of Lennon's slaying, Karsan dropped off the note and a photo of Ono in nightclothes at the Dakota apartment building.

Ono still lives in the apartment that she shared with the musical icon.

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.

On the night in 1980 that he was killed, 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.

Fans observe the anniversary of Lennon's death by gathering at Strawberry Fields, a section of Central Park opposite the Dakota.

In the past, Ono and Sean Lennon have placed candles on the windowsill of the apartment as a message of support.