50 Cent to settle debts

NEW YORK • Rapper 50 Cent (left), whose once-extravagant lifestyle crumbled after a failed business deal and a lawsuit over a sex tape, received court approval on Wednesday to get out of bankruptcy.

A Connecticut court gave the green light to a proposal submitted by 50 Cent, who was celebrating his 41st birthday, to pay about US$23.4 million (S$31.5 million) to creditors over five years.

The plan approved by Judge Ann Nevins said creditors who accounted for 99.5 per cent of claims against the rapper accepted his arrangement.

Best known for his 2003 album and 2005 movie Get Rich Or Die Tryin, 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy protection last year soon after losing a lawsuit over a sex tape.

The rapper, whose real name is Curtis James Jackson III, had appeared in a wig and spoke in an artificially high voice as he narrated a video that depicted sex acts by Florida woman Lastonia Leviston.

He had been seeking to mock fellow rapper Rick Ross, formerly in a relationship with Leviston. After she sued, 50 Cent was ordered to pay US$7 million in damages.

Under the bankruptcy deal, he will instead pay her US$6 million, a court document showed.

The biggest claim against him was from investors in Sleek Audio, a failed headphone venture.

He agreed to pay them more than US$17.5 million under the deal.

In the settlement, he said he was putting forward US$7.4 million to his creditors immediately in cash and would generate nearly all the additional money by selling his home, a Connecticut mansion once owned by boxer Mike Tyson.

When he filed for bankruptcy protection, 50 Cent had told the court that his lavish lifestyle was all a show and that he even borrowed expensive jewellery that he returned after wearing it in public.

He did not appear chastened by the bankruptcy settlement, however. He posted pictures on Instagram of himself flying in a helicopter and, shortly after the judge approved the plan, wrote: "Oh now I remember where I put that money."

50 Cent had earned an estimated US$100 million in 2007 when he sold a stake in the drink vitaminwater.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2016, with the headline '50 Cent to settle debts'. Print Edition | Subscribe