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George Clooney Sued for Plagiarism

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Apr 05, 2006 | 5:33am EDT

George Clooney's production company is facing legal action over allegations from a French screenwriter his Oscar-winning oil thriller Syriana was copied.

Stephanie Vergniault is suing Section Eight, as well as the movie's other makers--Warner Bros and director Stephen Gaghan--for plagiarizing at least 15 scenes from her own script, Oversight, developed between 1997 and 2003.

Gaghan claims inspiration from CIA agent Robert Baer's book See No Evil, but Vergniault insists the similarities to her film project are even more pronounced and is seeking $2.45 million in damages.

A spokesman for Warner Bros has slammed her accusations as "without merit", adding, "We will defend our position in court."

The political drama earned its star George Clooney a best supporting actor Academy Award last month. It was originally entered into the best adapted screenplay Oscar category but organizers moved it to into the original screenplay section.

Clooney's Casino Scrapped

George Clooney has also been forced to abandon plans to build his proposed Las Ramblas casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, after his backers decided to sell the plot of land ear-marked for the luxury resort.

The Oscar-winner and top club boss Rande Gerber--husband of Cindy Crawford--are among the investors in the ambitious project which was set to open its doors next year.

But Clooney is turning his attention to finding new backers for his 1950s-style gaming establishment following the collapse of the deal.

He tells the New York Daily News, "Since our controlling partners wanted to sell the space. I'll donate my profits from the sale to the African Debt Relief Project--and I guess I'll find someplace else to gamble."

Gerber remains optimistic about the future: "There are several great opportunities on the table, including a potential sale of the land. Regardless of the outcome, George and I are committed to developing a Vegas project together."

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