Michael Jackson failed to keep £4.6million music deal, says Bahraini prince

Michael Jackson failed to keep £4.6million music deal, says Bahraini prince

Michael Jackson is being sued for £4.6million by an Arab prince for reneging on a recording deal, the High Court has heard.

The reclusive singer is alleged to have accepted the huge sum to sing tracks composed by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamad Bin Isa Khalifa.

Jackson claims the money was a gift and he does not owe a penny.

But the sheikh, who is the second son of the king of Bahrain, said the money he spent supporting Jackson's lavish lifestyle was purely an advance on a music rights deal he agreed with the singer.

In a sworn statement read to the judge Mr Justice Nigel Sweeney, he said: 'I would never pay anybody millions of dollars for nothing in return.'

The collaboration started in 2004 and the pair agreed a deal to release pop songs to raise money for the victims of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, the court heard.

But the sheikh claims that the near bankrupt 50-year-old pop star signed a deal in April 2006, took the money and later refused to work on the projects.

Among the donations, Jackson's personal assistant allegedly made a request for 21,000 in 2005 to pay 'utility bills' at his Neverland ranch - which he has now been forced to sell.

Jackson asked for £614,000 through an assistant the following month in April 2005.

The sheikh also paid Jackson's £1.4million legal bill for his child molestation trial in May 2005, and had planned to revive the singer's ruined career, it was claimed.

Jackson spent time in Bahrain as a guest of the royal family following his acquittal. Bankim Thanki QC, representing the sheikh, told the High Court that his client was very surprised at the state of Jackson's finances.

Mr Thanki said that the day after Jackson's criminal trial ended in California, the star recorded one of the songs which the sheikh wanted released as a charity single to help victims of the Boxing Day tsunami.

Mr Thanki promised the judge that a recording of the song would be played in court during the trial. 'It shows the quality of Sheikh Abdullah's song writing skills and that of Mr Jackson's voice,' he told the judge.

Jackson and the sheikh had begun a 'burgeoning relationship and musical co-operation', he added.

Another charity record for the New Orleans victims of Hurricane Katrina was also planned by the pair, it was claimed.

They even discussed the chances of Jackson moving to Bahrain to 'continue their musical collaboration in a more conducive environment'.

The sheikh has extensive administrative duties in the kingdom but has 'a substantial interest in music which led him to be introduced to the Jackson family', the court was told.

Meanwhile, Jackson's career was hit hard by the child abuse allegations and was not showing any signs of recovering, despite him being found not guilty in his trial.

Under the terms of the alleged deal struck between the pair, Jackson is said to have agreed to major recording obligations, an autobiography and a musical stage play, along with other rights.

Jackson gave up the title on his Neverland ranch last week after falling into default on the £15million he owed on the Californian estate.

He admits he failed to meet any obligations the sheikh may have expected, but insists there was no legally valid agreement between them.

The hearing, expected to last 12 days, continues.

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