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Zimmer Countersuit Accuses Rifkin of Embezzlement, Fraud

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The composer responds to claims he tried to squeeze his business partner out of their company.

January 06, 2004|Lorenza Munoz | Times Staff Writer

Composer Hans Zimmer filed a countersuit Monday against Jay Rifkin, accusing his longtime business partner of embezzlement and fraud.

The suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court was in response to Rifkin's claim in December that the Oscar-winning composer was trying to squeeze him out of their company, Media Ventures Entertainment.

Zimmer charged in his suit that Rifkin exemplified "the age-old and ... oft-repeated Hollywood story -- a brilliant creative artist gives his blind faith and trust to a supposed 'friend' whom the artist later discovers has abused that trust and is unlawfully and outrageously enriching himself through embezzlement, fraud and other unsavory acts."

The suit seeks dissolution of their company and other ventures; a third-party accounting of what happened to the money in question; an appointment of receivership; and $20 million in punitive damages.

Zimmer won an Oscar for his score for the 1994 animated blockbuster "The Lion King."

He also has written music for such films as "Driving Miss Daisy," "The Prince of Egypt" and "The Road to El Dorado."

Rifkin won a Grammy and two American Music Awards for his work as a producer of "The Lion King" soundtrack album.

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