Chippendales' chief faces murder plot suit

THE OWNER of the California-based Chippendales male striptease revue, who has admitted planning the murder of a business partner, is being sued by two men from a rival troupe who say he was behind a plot to kill them in Britain.

The two men have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking undisclosed compensatory and punitive damages from Somen 'Steve' Banerjee, whom they have accused of 'outrageous' conduct which caused them 'severe emotional distress'.

Until recently, Mr Banerjee faced an indictment accusing him of plotting to kill the two men - Steve White and Read Scot - while their troupe, Adonis, was performing at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Prosecutors alleged that a hit-man was dispatched from Los Angeles carrying a small quantity of cyanide, with which he had been ordered to inject his victims for a fee of dollars 25,000 (pounds 16,000) a head. The plot failed because he was an FBI informer.

However, prosecutors have dropped these charges - a move which came as Mr Banerjee admitted plotting the murder of television producer Nick DeNoia, the former husband of Hollywood actress Jennifer O'Neill. Mr DeNoia died after being shot in the face at his New York office in 1987.

Mr Banerjee, 47, will appear in court in Los Angeles in October where he will be sentenced to 26 years in prison, under a plea-bargaining agreement.