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50 Cent files US$6m case against Beam Suntory

Just months after Diageo settled out of court an acrimonious legal battle with rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, another of the global drinks giants is being sued by a music artist and drinks entrepreneur.

Rapper and media celebrity Curtis Jackson, otherwise known as 50 Cent, has filed a US$6 million embezzlement case against Beam Suntory.

It alleges that owner of the Jim Beam and Makers Mark bourbons was complicit in overcharging his Sire Spirits business for several years. This, he alleges, left him with large losses.

Sire Spirits’ leading brands are Branson Cognac and Le Chemin du Roi Champagne.

It charges that excessive prices were integrated into product prices and that 50 Cent’s business overpaid on various expenses, including taxes, customs, and insurance, totalling around $6 million.

It claims that Julious Grant, Beam’s former chief commercial officer, who left the company in 2019, received an annual payment of $500,000 from Beam Suntory and played a pivotal role in running the scheme that also involved club promoter Michael “Lord Michael” Caruso.

50 Cent believes there was a deliberate attempt to sabotage Sire Spirits because its collapse would have concealed the alleged embezzlement scheme.

“This is the type of stuff that happens and slows down new companies when they’re coming in because I guess it prevents them from growing fast enough,” 50 Cent said in a TV interview.

Beam Suntory rejects the allegations.

It said in a statement: “Beam Suntory vehemently denies all allegations of wrongdoing. It had no involvement in or knowledge of the fraudulent activity alleged in the complaint.

“It is very unfortunate that the parties involved continue to misrepresent the facts and misdirect blame in an attempt to recover fees and damages.”

Earlier this month 50 Cent posted on Instagram: ““@beamsuntory is gonna pay for what they did, trust me. These big companies think they can get away with anything. It has cost me millions in legal fees. They are gonna find out I’m not the one you want to play with”.

He also published on social media a letter purportedly from Beam Suntory to its business affiliates, which he claims was done without his knowledge.

In the caption accompanying the post, he attacked Beam Suntory and called its associates “co-conspirators,” implying their involvement in the alleged scheme.

“This is the letter @beamsuntory sent without my knowledge to the people involved in the scheme that cost me millions.

“Do I really need to hold a press conference to walk everyone through exactly what happened with convicted felon Mitchel E. Green, Julious Grant, Arnaud Fabre and the guy Beam paid millions of dollars to help sell my brands, “Lord Michael” Caruso. This will make a great unscripted project.”

“Now they’re at a point where they’re going to see, everybody’s going to see. This noise affects them, they get really uncomfortable,” he told Fox 5 TV in New York

“People are going to start looking at it, and it’s going to be a mess for them.”

In 2022, Mitchell Green, an employee at Sire Spirits, confessed to wire fraud for his involvement in the embezzlement plot.

As the former brand manager, he acknowledged overpricing certain drinks, resulting in the misappropriation of US$2.2 million. He was sacked and ordered to reimburse the company.

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