A lawyer for Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain says the details of his legal settlement with Michael Jackson are to remain private.
Attorney Bankim Thanki says the two sides have come to a confidential agreement that they will sign soon.
Al Khalifa had claimed the singer pulled out of a planned series of collaborations. The sheik sued Jackson and was seeking the return of $7 million he said he had given the pop star.
Neither Jackson nor the sheik attended today’s (Nov. 24) brief High Court hearing in London.
Jackson’s spokeswoman Celena Aponte said Jackson was informed of the deal as he was about to board a flight to London.
“As Mr. Jackson was about to board his plane to London, he was advised by his legal team to postpone his travels since the parties had concluded a settlement in principle,” Aponte said. “Therefore, he will not be attending court on Monday.”
A representative for the sheik could not immediately be reached for comment.
During the hearing last week, Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa’s lawyer said he gave the singer millions and planned a series of collaborations following Jackson’s acquittal on child molestation charges in June 2005. Al Khalifa, 33, invited Jackson to the small, oil-rich Gulf state to escape the media spotlight.
The sheik, the second son of the king of Bahrain, said he believed he had formed “a close personal relationship” with the star, whom he referred to affectionately as “my brother.”
Al Khalifa said he gave Jackson millions of dollars to help shore up his finances and subsidize Jackson’s lifestyle in Bahrain – including more than $300,000 for a “motivational guru.” Al Khalifa, an amateur songwriter, says the pair even moved into the same palace to work on music together.
But Jackson dropped the project in 2006, leaving Bahrain and pulling out of the contract.
Jackson’s lawyers have maintained the money was a gift and argued that the musician wasn’t bound by the deal because the contract was signed on behalf of 2 Seas Records, a venture which never got off the ground.
The singer originally wanted to avoid coming to London to answer the lawsuit in person, seeking instead to give evidence by video link from the United States. His lawyer, Robert Englehart, had claimed that Jackson should be spared the trans-Atlantic trip due to an unspecified illness, but on Thursday (Nov. 20) the lawyer said the 50-year-old star had been cleared for travel.
The suit was being heard in London by mutual agreement.