DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Michael Jackson seems to be settling in to the Persian Gulf. He has shopped for real estate here, been spotted in glitzy malls — and now it appears that Jackson is interviewing for a job.
The singer, his reputation in tatters at home after winning a grueling child molestation trial in California last year, is negotiating a position as a consultant with a Bahrain-based company that plans to set up theme parks and music academies in the Middle East, according to a press release.
AAJ Holdings Ltd., owned by Bahraini businessman Ahmed Abu Bakr Janahi, said it wanted to hire the 47-year-old Jackson to give advice on setting up entertainment businesses.
AAJ, which focuses mainly on urban development projects, played a key role in designing Bahrain's ongoing Financial Harbor development and Oman's Blue City, a multibillion-dollar tourist resort with golf courses, hotels, and several dozen miles of sandy beaches.
According to the statement, Janahi believes Jackson could play an important role in the company.
"Stagnant architectural structures need content in the form of entertainment to revive them and that's where Michael Jackson will play an integral role," the statement said.
Jackson's publicist, Raymone K. Bain, could not be reached for comment Monday.
Jackson is reported to be in the midst of building a home in Bahrain, an island nation in the Persian Gulf linked to Saudi Arabia by a bridge.
In his last known visit to Dubai in November, Jackson was seen checking out some of the world's priciest real estate developments. His host at the time, Emirates champion rally driver Mohammed bin Sulayem, said Jackson was considering buying property here.
News reports out of Manama, the Bahraini capital, have quoted Jackson's publicist as saying the pop star is in the process of finalizing his Hurricane Katrina relief song, which will be released on Bahraini label 2 Seas Records.
The label belongs to Sheik Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, a regional governor and the Bahraini king's son, who is reportedly spearheading the project.
Recording artists Keisha Cole, Ciara, Snoop Dogg, Babyface and R Kelly are among those taking part in the song, "I Have This Dream," reports stated.
Since his June acquittal on child molestation charges, Jackson has made several trips to Bahrain as a guest of Al Khalifa.