La Toya Jackson: Michael 'murdered by hangers-on who wanted his cash'

Michael Jackson's sister La Toya has claimed that the 50-year-old singer was effectively "murdered" by a manipulative entourage engaged in a conspiracy to get their hands on his money.

His acolytes had cut Jackson off from his family and friends, and forced him to sign up for a gruelling 50 concerts at London's 02 arena, she said in several interviews with Sunday newspapers.

La Toya, 53, also claims jewels and up to £1m in cash had gone missing from her brother's home. The family, she said would be bringing a civil lawsuit against anyone they believed had played a part in his death.

"We don't think just one person was involved in the murder. It was a conspiracy to get Michael's money," she told the News of the World, going on to describe "shadowy" hangers-on who fed Jackson drugs and regarded him as a "cash cow".

She told the Mail on Sunday: "He was surrounded by a bad circle. Michael was a very meek, quiet, loving person. People took advantage of that. People fought to be close to him, people who weren't always on his side.

"Michael was worth more than $1bn. When anyone is worth that much money, there are always greedy people around them."

Jackson made a fortune from record sales and concert appearances – his 1982 hit Thriller is the bestselling album of all time – but his profligate spending was thought to have left him in serious debt by the time he died of a cardiac arrest on 25 June.

In November last year, he sold his Neverland ranch after defaulting on his $24.5m mortgage, and four years ago he had to use his 50 per cent stake in the Beatles' back catalogue as collateral for $270m-worth of loans.

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