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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Jackson 'close to bankruptcy'
Michael Jackson
Jackson has been ill recently
Singer Michael Jackson is on the verge of bankruptcy, his former financial advisers are claiming in a US lawsuit.

Jackson, who was once said to have been worth 350m, is a "ticking financial time bomb waiting to explode at any moment," according to papers filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Union Finance and Investment Corporation says the 44-year-old owes the company 7.2m in fees and expenses, plus interest.

Company lawyer Pierce O'Donnell said: "For whatever reason, Michael Jackson is not paying his debts. He has little or no means of income.

"He lives off a line of credit. The day of reckoning is near."

But Jackson's lawyer Brian Oxman said he did not believe the singer's finances were in trouble.

"I see no signs of this impending disaster," he said.

"I cannot say it for 100% sure because nobody knows his financial statements. But I can say it for a reasonable certainty."

Union Finance alleges that when the company agreed to work for Jackson in 1998, "there was no clue that his extravagant lifestyle had all but bankrupted him".

The company says it discovered Jackson only had two months' worth of available funds.

Union Finance's case will be heard oN 18 June.

Fading star

Michael Jackson
Legal strains: Jackson in court last year
Two decades ago Jackson was the world's biggest pop star, with his 1982 album Thriller selling 47 million copies, and 1987 follow-up Bad meeting with similar success.

He was reported to be earning 30m a year at the height of his popularity.

In 1985 he bought ATV Music, the company which owns the rights to the Beatles' back catalogue, and he also owns his Neverland ranch near Santa Barbara as well as other homes in California and Las Vegas.

But unforgiving press coverage of both his private life and his music have seen Jackson's popularity tumble.

Most recently, Jackson was outraged by a TV documentary on him by British journalist Martin Bashir, in which the singer admitted sharing his bedroom with children.

Now Jackson faces over 1,000 lawsuits, including a 15m claim by a producer over cancelled concerts, and a former manager who claims he is owed millions in back pay.

The legal pressures on the singer now appear to be affecting his health.

He was admitted to hospital with a mystery illness last week on the day he was due to appear in an Indianapolis court on a matter relating to the Jackson Five.

"He can become very concerned and nervous at depositions. He doesn't like lawsuits, and it makes him ill to have to cope with litigation that people seem to heap on him," Mr Oxman said at the time.




SEE ALSO:
Jackson suffers sudden illness
22 May 03  |  Entertainment
Jackson loses $5m court case
14 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Jackson sues Motown
13 May 03  |  Entertainment
Jackson compares himself to Disney
05 Dec 02  |  Entertainment
Jackson paintings lawsuit settled
21 May 03  |  Entertainment
Jackson's growing pains
28 Feb 03  |  Entertainment


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