Yoko Ono's driver has been arrested after claims that he attempted to blackmail the artist and threatened to kill her.

Koral Karson is said to have told Ono that he had photographs of her and tapes of conversations that he would release unless she paid him $2 million.

The 50-year-old denies the claims; as he was arrested yesterday he said "No, no way".

Ono reported the incident to police last Friday, the 26th anniversary of the death of her late husband, Beatles singer John Lennon.

Her spokesperson Eltio Mintz told the BBC: "She is one woman who has been through enough. For an employee - especially a trusted employee who drove her - to attempt a shakedown has left her just absolutely shocked.

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

Ono and Lennon married in 1969 and had one son together, 31-year-old Sean. Lennon was shot dead by a deranged fan in 1980.

14/12/2006 15:48:57