Yoko Ono’s Ex-Driver Involved in Theft of John Lennon’s Items

The stolen items from the estate of John Lennon have been recovered in Berlin, Germany. Personal belongings such as his iconic circular glasses, diaries, and a hand-written music score were found among the lot of one hundred items.

A Bitter Ending

After Lennon’s untimely death in 1980, the estate went under his second wife Yoko Ono and their son Sean. The mother and son continue to reside at the Dakota, the same building where Lennon was shot, until this day. According to Mr. Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the state prosecutor’s office in Berlin, she kept the belongings of her late husband in different cupboards in their home.

As Ono continued with her public life, she hired limousine chauffeur Koral Karsan as her private driver. Things turned sour in December 2006 when Karsan accused Ono of sexually harassing him; he wrote an extortion letter wherein he described himself as her “driver, bodyguard, assistant, butler, nurse, handyman and more so your lover and confidant over the last ten years.” They went to court for two months before Karsan was sent back to his native Turkey in February 2007 and their personal/professional relationship ended there.

Part Two

Or so we thought it did. Earlier this July, a lawyer from Berlin handled a local auction house’s bankruptcy case where he found 86 of Lennon’s personal effects. Police arrested Erhan G. (German police don’t release full names of suspects) last Thursday after he admitted to selling the items to the auction house in 2014. He claimed to have received the personal effects from Karsan, although it’s still unclear how the two went into business together.

Berlin police stated that Karsan’s demand of two million US dollars from Ono didn’t stop him from stealing Lennon’s personal items from the Dakota. However, Karsan reached out to the New York Times via email with his side of the story: he said that Ono instructed him to move the valuable items from the Dakota before the approaching powerful storm could hit New York in 2006. He attached an email from his former boss that listed his tasks before the storm, but it only mentioned “paintings and file cabinets” and not specifically Lennon’s belongings.

Karsan locked the items away at a storage unit in Long Island and although he didn’t return it, he claims that Ono knew the location. He left the belongings after his conviction and because he wasn’t allowed to contact her, he eventually sold it to the auction house so he can get his compensation.

News about the Berlin police’s, Ono’s, and Karsan’s next steps have not surfaced as of writing. After being sent back to his home country, we can’t tell what can or will happen to Karsan if he gets incarcerated for the crimes. At least John Lennon’s items are back in his estate.

Featured image from Vanity Fair

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