24 Nov 2008

Jackson settles contract dispute with sheikh

7:09 pm on 24 November 2008

Michael Jackson has made a settlement in principle in a legal dispute over claims he breached a music contract with an Arab sheikh.

The American singer had been due to travel to London to give evidence at the High Court.

A spokesman said his legal team told him to postpone the trip as the parties had made an agreement in principle.

The King of Bahrain's son, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, was suing Jackson for Stg 4.7 million, claiming he reneged on a music contract.

Jackson contested the claim, saying there was no valid agreement.

The BBC reports Jackson was about to board a flight to the UK when he was told to postpone the trip.

Sheikh Abdulla said he paid all the singer's living, travel and other expenses until his departure from Bahrain in 2006, and advanced funds to retain legal and financial advisers.

Jackson claimed the payments were "gifts".

The Thriller star was invited with his children and entourage to Bahrain, shortly after he was acquitted of child molestation charges in California. While there, the sheikh lavished money on him.

Sheikh Abdulla also built a recording studio, which he believed would be used to record albums using material he had helped to write.

However, Jackson apparently pulled out of the deal in May 2006 after 11 months and has not seen the sheikh since.

Now Sheikh Abdulla says he wants nothing more to do with him and is suing to get his money back.

At the start of the hearing which began last week, Jackson's lawyer, Robert Englehart QC, applied for the star to give his evidence by video link from Los Angeles because of concerns about his health.

But the application was withdrawn after medical experts said Jackson was fit enough to travel.