Mel Gibson stands accused of fraud, breach of contract and unfair business practices in a lawsuit filed by the co-screenwriter of his religious epic The Passion Of The Christ. Benedict Fitzgerald accuses Gibson, who directed the controversial 2004 film, of engaging in a "chronic and conspiratorial pattern of deceit" by telling the writer he was working on a project with a budget of between $4 million (GBP2 million) and $7 million (GBP3.5 million). Fitzgerald claims he was only paid $75,000 (GBP37,500) and that he had to borrow $200,000 (GBP100,000) from Gibson to cover expenses, reports The Passion Of The Christ went on to gross an estimated $600 million (GBP300 million) worldwide. The lawsuit, filed on Monday (11Feb08), reads: "Gibson preyed monetarily on Ben, taking advantage of his unbridled enthusiasm for the project and with full cognizance of Ben's fundamental personal and spiritual beliefs."