Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Jackson case 'settled amicably'

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson had been expected to arrive in the UK over the weekend

The legal dispute over a music contract between Michael Jackson and an Arab sheik, has ended with an "amicable settlement", their lawyers have said.

Jackson had been due to fly in to give evidence at the High Court before an agreement in principle was reached.

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

The court was told on Monday that the agreement would remain confidential.

Bankim Thanki QC, for the sheikh, told the judge: "We are very pleased to announce an amicable settlement has been reached on confidential terms."

Lawyers for both sides then went into conference before releasing a joint statement which simply said: "They wish each other well in their own respective endeavours."

Leaving the High Court on Monday, a spokesman for Sheikh Abdulla's lawyer said: "They have settled amicably and that's all we have to say."

Mr Jackson, who had contested the sheikh's claim saying there was no valid agreement, was about to board a flight to the UK when he was told to postpone the trip.

'Personal relationship'

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.

Mr 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.

Sheikh Abdulla and Michael Jackson in 2005
Sheikh Abdulla and Michael Jackson formed a close friendship
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 Mr Jackson apparently pulled out of the deal in May 2006 after 11 months and has not seen the sheikh since.

At the start of the hearing, which began last week, Mr 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But the application was withdrawn after medical experts said Mr Jackson was fit enough to travel.

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