(NEW YORK) - Steven Seagal is under siege again.
Less than three months after being found guilty of slandering a co-worker, the action movie star is being sued for $60 million in damages by a former business partner for allegedly backing out of a contract to perform in four motion pictures.
The lawsuit, filed in Richmond County Supreme Court by producer Julius R. Nasso, accuses Seagal of breaching a contract to star in the movies, which had a combined budget of more than $125 million.
According to the lawsuit, Nasso accuses Seagal of backing out of his obligations on the advice of a Buddhist spiritual adviser known as Mukara, who persuaded Seagal to detach himself from his associates and even his children from two marriages.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, asserts that Mukara convinced the 50-year-old actor that he could not become a reincarnated lama, or Tulka, unless he distanced himself from those with whom he'd associated.
Seagal's publicist, Michelle Bega, said Wednesday that her client had no immediate comment.
Seagal and Nasso began doing business together in 1987, when Nasso handled the international marketing of Seagal's first hit film, ``Above the Law,'' the lawsuit says.
The two established Seagal-Nasso Productions Inc. in 1990 to handle distribution and foreign rights sales of Seagal's films.
Nasso served as associate producer for ``Marked for Death'' and executive producer for ``Out for Justice,'' the lawsuit says. In 1992, the company signed a deal with Warner Bros. for four movies _ ``On Deadly Ground,'' ``Under Siege 2: Dark Territory,'' ``The Glimmer Man'' and ``Fire Down Below,'' all of which Nasso produced or co-produced.
In 1997, Seagal and Nasso signed a deal to produce four more films. Over the next year, Nasso says, he spent nearly $2.5 million on obtaining literary rights, buying scripts and taking out trade ads to announce the films, and on expenses incurred while selling their foreign rights.
But he charges that Seagal closed the company's California offices in October 2000 without consulting him, and claims that Seagal's failure to fulfill his commitments has caused him and the company substantial financial losses.
In December 2001, a California jury found Seagal guilty of slandering a co-worker but decided he did not have to pay any damages.
Seagal's last film was 2001's ``Exit Wounds,'' which featured rapper DMX.