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Michael Jackson was “killed” for his music catalogue, it has been claimed.
Leonard Rowe – a former financial advisor to the late ‘Thriller’ star and close friend of his father Joe Jackson – believe the singer was killed because he refused to sell his publishing rights, which were worth a reputed $1 billion, as they were the legacy he planned to leave for his three children, Prince Michael, 13, Paris, 12, and Prince Michael II, eight.
Leonard said: “Michael always felt he would be killed for his catalogue. When he was speaking about it, I paid him no attention but as the latest events have unfolded, I couldn’t help but think about his statement - and it still haunts me today.
“Michael’s catalogue was very valuable... and people wanted that catalogue. It is one thing that Michael told me, personally, that he would never sell it. Michael said he wanted to keep it for his children, no matter what type of financial situation he came across, he would always hold onto his catalogue.
"I believe the powers that be knew that Michael and The Michael Jackson name was worth billions and billions of dollars and he was worth more to them dead than alive.
“What I hope is that everyone who is responsible for Michael Jackson’s death is brought to justice and fully prosecuted in a court of law.”
Leonard also blasted concert promoters AEG for pushing the singer – who died of acute Propofol intoxication aged 50 last June – into agreeing to a 50-night London residency and feels they “exploited” him.
Leonard added to RadarOnline.com: “AEG had a contract with Michael that was nothing less than a cocked financial gun pointed to his head.
“It is my belief that he was being totally exploited.
“I think they knew Michael’s condition, they knew Michael had an addiction, they knew his financial situation was deplorable and they used that against him; they trapped him... they must have known what they were doing.”
In 1985, Michael – who had severe cash flow problems in the years leading up to his death – paid $47.5 million to buy his publishing catalogue, before selling a 50 per cent stage to Sony for $150 million 10 years later.
Following his death, the administrators of his estate signed a $250 million deal giving Sony full access to the King of Pop’s back catalogue and previously unreleased material.