Christopher Skase, thebuccaneering Australian businessman who briefly acquired the MGM/UA studiobefore running into bankruptcy and becoming an international fugitive, died onSunday on the Spanish island of Majorca. He was 52.

"I can confirm he hasdied, it was a mixture of everything, emphysema, cancer, the works,"Majorca Daily Bulletin editor and family friend Jason Moore told Reutersyesterday. "They (his family) are very upset. They are very upset with theAustralian authorities. Despite their grief and sorrow, they were angry becauseso many people in Australia doubted Skase was sick,"

During the late 1980s, Skasetried to buy MGM/UA (now Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) through his Qintex media andentertainment empire. When the company collapsed, leaving him with personaldebts of A$80m, he fled to Spain in 1991 rather than face as many as 30criminal charges from Australian authorities. Attempts to extradite him failedon the grounds that he was said to be too ill to travel.