Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Former prince of pop Jackson sued by future king of Bahrain

An Arab sheikh who is suing Michael Jackson for £4.7m was trying to get the international recording star to sing the sheikh’s own songs, it was revealed at the High Court yesterday.

Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, second son of the King of Bahrain, had set Jackson up with a recording studio at his Neverland ranch and then sent him his compositions.

Bankim Thanki QC, representing the sheikh, told Mr Justice Sweeney that the day after Jackson’s criminal trial ended over child molestation charges in California, the star recorded one of the compositions 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 Abdulla’s song writing skills and that of Mr Jackson’s voice,” he told the judge.

The two had a “close personal relationship” and discussed the chances of Jackson moving to Bahrain after the end of his criminal trial to “continue their musical collaboration in a more conducive environment”, said Mr Thanki.

The sheikh is suing the pop music legend for allegedly reneging on a $7m (£4.7m) “pay-back” agreement to repay money he advanced to Jackson at the height of his financial troubles.

He says he and Jackson entered into a “combined rights agreement” under which Jackson committed to a recording contract, the production of an autobiography and a musical stage play.

But Jackson is contesting the claim, insisting there was no valid agreement.

In his pleaded defence, Jackson says the payments he received were “gifts” and that no project was ever finalised.

The hearing continues today.

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