Jennifer Lopez is suing her former chauffeur, Hakob Manoukian, for $20 million for him allegedly trying to extort money from her. J.Lo's lawsuit claims that her ex-driver vowed to release information he overheard while driving her unless she paid him $2.8 million.
Jennifer Lopez, 42, claims that after she fired Manoukian, he became "hostile and angry," delivering "ominous threats" to leak "sensitive and personal" secrets of hers if she didn't pay him millions, according to documents obtained by E! News. Instead of paying him, though, J.Lo filed a countersuit of her own.
The problems between Manoukian and Lopez allegedly started last summer, around the time the singer split from then-husband Mark Anthony. Manoukian left Anthony's company ARI Enterprises and offered to work for J.Lo in July of 2011, according to the lawsuit.
While employed under J.Lo, Manoukian alleges that she and her manager, Benny Medina, put him in charge of security for a Def Jam Records video shoot. He claims he hired two police officers for the job, then, the night before the shoot, he was told to cancel the security plans. Instead, Medina would be in charge and find security guards.
The chauffeur "mistakenly and unreasonably believed he had the unqualified right to designate the security team and profit from any budgetary allocations for such security," J.Lo's countersuit reads. Less than a month after being hired, Manoukian quit, also citing "intolerable" working conditions, such as a lack of paid overtime and not being allowed "to take all his proper meal periods."
"In the furtherance of this plot, he abruptly terminated his employment with Ms. Lopez and began to threaten her," Lopez's lawsuit reads.
April of this year, Manoukian filed a lawsuit against Anthony, Medina and Lopez for what he claims was his full salary- $72,000 originally, but when combined with "production pay," it was expected to be in the $200,000 range.
Lopez's countersuit asks for much more. $20 million was demanded of Manoukian by Lopez's legal team because of the "irreparable injury" caused the star. The demand is even more than what J.Lo gave up by leaving her job judging "American Idol"- a position worth $17 million.
Furthering Lopez's cause is a confidentiality clause the star claims Manoukian signed agreeing never to disclose anything about her personal life or family.
One thing is for sure: blackmail and extortion are crimes. In the state of California, those found guilty of blackmail face four years in prison.