Pop superstar Michael Jackson is facing further court scrutiny after a former associate sued for nearly $4 million (GBP2.2 million) in unrepaid loans and expenses. The troubled THRILLER singer is alleged to owe $3.8 million (GBP2.1 million) after the services of F MARC SCHAFFEL on a charity record and two TV endorsements went unremitted. In pretrial hearings, for which Jackson has been absent, Schaffel's lawyer HOWARD KING claims the star is inept and manipulative. His brief reads, "Jackson carried no credit cards, wrote no checks, carried no 'walking around money' and had people attending to his every need. "Jackson hired competent advisers to make business decisions then frequently ignored the decisions being made and...incurred expenses without regard to any rational limits or accountability, as though funds were endless. "Although the public may perceive Jackson as a soft-spoken artist concerned only about his creative endeavors, the evidence at trial will show that Jackson is a master at manipulating the people around him." Jackson denies the claims, insisting Schaffel is a "professional swindler" who, on the contrary, owes him money. His spokeswoman, Raymone K Bain, reveals the singer is not expected to testify in the Santa Monica trial, although he'll be seen in videotaped depositions. Jury selection begins next month (JUL06).