Wacko Jacko flies in to pitch for a gig at the Dome

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MICHAEL JACKSON, the world's best-selling recording artist, is due to arrive in Britain today for a series of private meetings that include a rendezvous with the billionaire Hinduja brothers, who last year agreed to underwrite the cash-starved "Spirit Zone" of the Millennium Dome.

He is understood to be meeting the publicity-shy brothers - Britain's richest Asian family - to discuss a possible collaboration for a major project. The meeting with the tycoons has fuelled speculation that the singer could revive his flagging career by performing a charity concert at the Dome.

His fortunes have waned ever since claims in 1993 that he molested a 13-year-old boy. The case was settled out of court. Since then Jackson has sought to associate himself with good causes. His relationship with the Hindujas, understood to be very close, is significant because of their involvement with numerous charities.

Darin Jewell, a spokesman for the Hinduja Foundation, the family's charity, declined to comment on the speculation. Nor would he speak about the possibility of Jackson appearing at the Dome on Millennium Eve. A spokesman for the New Millennium Experience Company said: "[Michael Jackson] is definitely not part of our plans for opening night."

However, Jackson has expressed interest in the Children's Promise, one of the Millennium projects. The initiative, sponsored by Marks and Spencer, aims to encourage everyone to give their final hour's earnings towards providing a better future for children.

The visit of the 39-year-old singer to Britain is the latest development in a growing partnership between the star and the devoutly religious Hinduja family which believes it is their religious duty to donate money to charity. Jackson first met with the family patriarch, Srichand Hinduja, at the annual Bollywood Awards in New York last May where the tycoon presented the star, dressed in a sari, with an award for his charitable works.

Last month Jackson played at a benefit concert for Kosovo in Munich where Srichand Hinduja's daughter, Vinoo, organised an Indian production with Jackson and the composer A R Rahman. The concert was soured by an accident in which Jackson suffered minor burns from stray fireworks.

And a recent appearance at Nelson Mandela's recent party to celebrate the end of his presidency was seen as a significant step in his rehabilitation.