P Diddy has criticised a newspaper article which claims he was behind the 1994 robbery and shooting of fellow hip-hop star Tupac Shakur.

The rap star has called the Los Angeles Times article "beyond ridiculous" and denied any knowledge of a plan to attack Tupac, who died in Los Angeles two years after the New York attack in question.

The story, which appeared on the Los Angeles Times website, claimed its allegations were based on FBI records, witness reports from the 1994 incident and other anonymous sources.

But in a statement issued on Monday, Diddy - real name Sean Combs - said the story was "a lie".

"It is beyond ridiculous and completely false. Neither BIG [the late rapper Notorious BIG - real name Christopher Smalls] nor I had any knowledge of any attack before, during or after it happened.

"I am shocked that the Los Angeles Times would be so irresponsible as to publish such a baseless and completely untrue story."

The newspaper article claimed the 1994 robbery and shooting - which sparked the feud between east and west coast rap stars that led to the deaths of Tupac and Notorious BIG - was arranged by promoter James Sabatino and talent manager James Rosemond, who along with Diddy declined to be interviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

In a statement, Rosemond called the article a "libellous piece of garbage".

"In the past 14 years, I have not even been questioned by law enforcement with regard to the assault of Tupac Shakur, let alone brought up on charges," he added.

"Chuck Philips, the writer... has reached a new low by employing fourth-hand information from desperate jailhouse informants along with ancient FBI reports to create this fabrication.

"I simply ask for all rap fans and fans of Tupac to analyse this fiction for what it is."

18/03/2008 11:49:19