Bahraini prince sues King of Pop


Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, second son of the King of Bahrain, helped support the cash-strapped Jackson in the aftermath of his child molestation trial, the shiekh’s lawyer Bankim Thanki told London’s High Court.

The two men had a "close personal relationship," and discussed the possibility of Jackson moving to Bahrain after the 2005 trial.

They even collaborated on a musical project — Jackson recorded a song written by Sheikh Abdulla which was planned as a charity single.

"Sheikh Abdulla began to support Mr Jackson financially after 2005 when it became clear that Mr Jackson was in very serious financial difficulties, much to Sheikh Abdulla’s surprise," Thanki told the court.

Assistants of Jackson initially asked the sheikh for 35,000 dollars (27,500 euros or 23,000 pounds) to pay utility bills at the pop star’s Neverland ranch, followed by a request for one million dollars in April 2005, Thanki said.

"Sheikh Abdulla made many more payments on his behalf or to others," including Jackson’s 2.2-million-dollar legal bill for his criminal trial, he said.

The sheikh planned to revive Jackson’s musical career, releasing records through their own label — including a song recorded the day after his trial ended, which the sheikh wanted released to help victims of the 2004 tsunami.

A recording of the song will be played in court during the trial.

"It shows the quality of Sheikh Abdulla’s songwriting skills and that of Mr Jackson’s voice," said Thanki.

The sheikh is suing Jackson for breaching the 4.7-million-pound "pay-back" deal designed to repay money he advanced to Jackson when he was having his worst financial problems.

Jackson, who was not in court but has been called on to give evidence via video link from Los Angeles, contests the claim, saying the sheikh’s case is based on "mistake, misrepresentation and undue influence."

He has argued that the payments were "gifts," and claims that no project was finalised between the two.

Though the pop megastar has acknowledged that he did sign an agreement which he understood as giving him a shareholding in a recording company owned by the sheikh, he has said that the contract was entered into on the basis of "false repsentations."

He also argues that the sheikh exercised "undue influence" over him in the aftermath of the 2005 trial, at which point he was emotionally exhausted.


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