Recordings made by millionaire rapper Jay Z that are reportedly at the center of an alleged extortion attempt by a music producer are now in possession of police in Los Angeles.
The recordings, made by Jay Z from 1998 and 2002, are valued from $15 million to $20 million, according to the celebrity website TMZ
, and producer Chauncey Mahan has been questioned by police about trying to use the tapes to extort money from the artist.
TMZ reported that Jay Z's Roc-A-Fella Records thought the recordings had been lost when they went missing from about 2002 until April 18, when Mahan was found with some of the masters at a storage facility in Northridge, Calif.
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Police charged that Mahan called Live Nation, which shares the Roc Nation entertainment venture with the rap artist, and told officials there that he would put the recordings up for auction unless he received $100,000 as a "storage fee," but settled for $75,000, reported TMZ.
After reportedly being tipped off by Jay Z's representatives, police detained and questioned Mahan. They took possession of the tapes but did not arrest him, according to TMZ. The website said Mahan is now the focus of investigations by the Beverly Hills Police Department, where Live Nation is located, and New York City, where Jay Z filed a grand larceny complaint.
Jay Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, was recently seen in public with his wife, Beyonce Knowles, at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival earlier this month
The rapper was brought on stage by singer Pharrell Williams during his performance, while Knowles briefly joined her sister Solange Knowles on stage during her set.
The New York Post reported
last week that Jay Z and Knowles are planning a U.S. tour that will include 20 cities starting in June and could put them in New York City on July 4.
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