Prince’s half-sisters are threatening legal action against the executors of the late pop star’s estate, alleging that valuable material was removed without permission from his legendary vault of unreleased songs.

Sharon and Norrine Nelson are threatening a lawsuit against Comerica Bank & Trust, the company entrusted to oversee Prince’s vast estate and assets following the singer’s sudden death in April 2016. They contend that four trucks arrived at Paisley Park, the sprawling complex that was Prince's home for decades, in early September and removed the contents of the vault, including tapes of unreleased music worth up to $200 million.

Comerica Bank & Trust, in response, argue that the move was undertaken as a security precaution, as moving it from Minnesota to a specialist storage facility in Los Angeles means it will be “safer”.

PrincePrince's vault of unreleased material has been relocated

“We want the music back home in Paisley Park where it belongs,” Sharon Nelson told the Associated Press on Wednesday (October 11th), while Norrine called the bank’s move “extraordinary and unconscionable” that it had been moved after four decades in the same place. They also say that they were not informed of the move in advance, or why it was being done.

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“It’s just as though Prince passed away again,” Sharon continued. “That’s how I felt. I was really devastated by that.”

Comerica Bank & Trust released a statement later that day, clarifying their reasons for the move.

“In an effort to ensure the preservation of Prince’s audio and visual content, Comerica selected the premier entertainment storage and archive company, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services,” the statement reads. “On four separate occasions, Comerica discussed the process with the heirs and any suggestion otherwise is not accurate.

“After reviewing the storage conditions at Paisley Park and out of concern regarding the consequences of a fire or other loss at the facility, Comerica determined that it was necessary to transfer the audio and visual content to a secure location where all of the original content could be securely stored and digitized as a safeguard against the destruction or loss of any original content.”

More: The late Prince’s back catalogue of “unreleased gems” will be released by Warner Bros. [archive]