Michael Jackson ‘Moving Back to California’

LOS ANGELES ~ Pop megastar Michael Jackson is moving back to California three years after he left the state following his acquittal on charges of child sex molestation, the Los Angeles Times has reported.

Jackson, 50, has leased an upscale mansion in the Bel-Air neighborhood for around US$100,000 a month, his spokesman Tohme Tohme told the LA daily for its Wednesday edition.

The French chateau-style house has seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces and a private cinema.

Jackson, for years one of the world’s most successful pop artists, with his 1982 hit Thriller remaining the bestselling album of all time, wanted to be closer to “where all the action is” in the entertainment business, Tohme said.

The singer has signed a one-year lease for the house, Tohme said, adding: “He might want to build his own dream house” during that time “although the real-estate market isn’t very good right now.”

Jackson has virtually disappeared from the public eye since his acquittal in his 2005 trial. He has been living in different places, including a spell in Bahrain, in Europe and Las Vegas.

In November he lost ownership of his famous Neverland ranch in California after transferring the deeds to a company he has a share in, media reports said.

The eccentric singer purchased the sprawling 1,000 hectare ranch in Santa Barbara County in 1987 and set out to transform it into a paradise for children, at one point opening a zoo and a rollercoaster.

But he has not lived in it since his 2005 trial, which arose from alleged incidents involving a young boy at the property.

Jackson has repeatedly said he is working on a new album, but so far nothing concrete has materialized.

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