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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Nicolas Cage filed a $20 million lawsuit against his former business manager on Friday, accusing him of negligence and fraud that sent the "National Treasure" star "down a path toward financial ruin."
Cage claimed that his recently-fired business manager had failed to pay taxes when they were due and had placed him in speculative and risky real estate investments "resulting in (the actor) suffering catastrophic losses."
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and first obtained by celebrity web site TMZ.com, Cage said he had now been forced to "sell major assets and investments at a significant loss" because of the actions of his business advisor and accountant over the past seven years.
The lawsuit said the advisor had also failed to alert Cage to the fact that his money was running out, and had over-extended his lines of credit with banks.
The former business manager, Samuel Levin, could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Cage, 45, is one of Hollywood's most prolific actors with more than 50 movies to his name, including an Oscar-winning role as an alcoholic in "Leaving Las Vegas" and action movies such as "Face/Off" and "Gone in Sixty Seconds".
Cage earned some $40 million last year according to Forbes.com and has six movies expected to hit theaters in the next two years.
He was recently hit with a claim for $6.6 million dollars in back income taxes, interest and penalties by U.S. authorities.
Cage said he did not realize the extent of his problems until September 2008 when he hired a new business manager. He asked for $20 million in damages, saying that his reputation has been "irreparably tarnished."
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte