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Diddy’s US homes raided by US federal agents

By AFP - Mar 27,2024 - Last updated at Mar 27,2024

Police officers at Diddy’s LA home (AFP photo)

LOS ANGELES — Homes belonging to Sean “Diddy” Combs were raided by federal agents on Monday, with the US hip hop mogul at the centre of sex trafficking claims and sex assault lawsuits.

Armed agents from the Department of Homeland Security entered luxury properties on both East and West Coasts of the United States, with video footage showing helicopters circling overhead and a huge law enforcement presence on the ground.

“Earlier today, Homeland Security Investigations [HIS] New York executed law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation, with assistance from HSI Los Angeles, HSI Miami and our local law enforcement partners,” the agency said.

A source confirmed to AFP that Combs was the target of the raids.

Media in Los Angeles carried aerial footage of a massive presence at a swanky Holmby Hills residence associated with Combs — an artist and producer also known as Puff Daddy.

Heavily armed agents could be seen all around the sprawling property, with footage showing unidentified individuals being detained at the scene.

Entertainment title TMZ said pictures appeared to show the rapper’s sons Justin and King Combs in handcuffs.

The outlet said it also had footage of a raid on a luxury waterside property in Miami connected to Combs.

There was no immediate official confirmation about what precipitated the raids, but the involvement of Homeland Security in large, coordinated raids in two locations suggests serious allegations.

The development comes with legal pressure increasing on the rapper, who has faced at least four lawsuits from people who say he sexually abused them, with allegations dating back decades.

 Last year Combs was sued by former girlfriend Casandra Ventura, who performed under the stage name Cassie and was signed to his Bad Boy label.

The suit alleged he had forced her to perform sexual acts with multiple men over a number of years in cities across the United States.

The suit said that as a result of stops in these different locations, which necessitated crossing state lines, Ventura was the victim of sex trafficking, a federal offence.

That suit was settled, but was followed by others, including one in December by a woman who accused Combs of sexual assault when he was 17.

Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer who represents two of the women who have accused Combs of abuse, told AFP on Monday: “We will always support law enforcement when it seeks to prosecute those that have violated the law.

“Hopefully, this is the beginning of a process that will hold Mr. Combs responsible for his depraved conduct.”

Combs has vehemently denied all accusations against him.

Combs, 54, founded the Bad Boy record label in 1993, and was a major figure in hip-hop’s commercialisation over the decades that followed. His proteges included the late Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige.

He is among the industry’s billionaires, not least due to his ventures in the liquor industry.

But contrary to a public image of suave businessman, lawsuits describe Combs as a violent man who used his celebrity to prey on and intimidate women.

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