DOCUMENT: Celebrity

Steven Seagal Claims German Mafia Threat

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Steven Seagal Claims German Mafia Threat

Steven Seagal claims in a bizarre new lawsuit that he has recently been the target of an extortion plot hatched by members of the "German Mafia and other nefarious underworld figures" who have threatened to assault the 51-year-old actor and destroy his "reputation in the movie industry."

According to the complaint, which was filed in late-December in Los Angeles Superior Court, Seagal alleges that the German gangsters are menacing him as a result--of all things--a lease dispute involving a Berlin villa. In late-2001, Seagal rented the ritzy property from owner Edeltrud Vorderwuhlbecke for the filming of "Half Past Dead," an action flick co-starring rapper Ja Rule that was released in November 2002 to critical brickbats.

The complaint, which you'll find here, alleges that after Seagal & Co. finished shooting at the villa, Vorderwuhlbecke and other unnamed German mob figures accused the film crew of seriously damaging the property. Seagal claims that, beginning last February, the German hoodlums tried to "extort" payments from him via threats of "severe bodily injury."

Noting the "Mafia and underworld connections" of the Germans, Seagal asserts that they "are quite capable of carrying out their threats to assault him physically and to destroy his reputation."

As a result of the extortion plot, Seagal has suffered "severe anxiety, emotional distress, humiliation, and mortification," according to the lawsuit, which does not specify the exact monetary damages sought by Seagal.

If the actor is to be believed, this is the second recent shakedown attempt directed at him by racketeers. Federal prosecutors in New York last June charged Seagal's former partner, Julius Nasso, and several Gambino crime family figures with attempting to extort $150,000 per film from the actor, who is expected to testify as a government witness. (7 pages)

FBI affidavit links Seagal to journalist threat.