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Sean 'Diddy' Combs, the rap mogul facing a web of sex crime allegations

NEW YORK, United States — Once hip hop's flashy impresario credited with commercializing the genre, Sean "Diddy" Combs has seen his star plunge as federal authorities raid his homes amid sex trafficking accusations and assault lawsuits.

The legal pressure and heavily publicized bicoastal operation, which saw armed agents enter his sprawling luxury properties in Miami and Los Angeles, mark a rapid downfall for the powerful mogul who in recent years has vied to rebrand as "Brother Love."

The 54-year-old founded the Bad Boy record label in 1993, with proteges including the late Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige, ushering hip hop into the global lifestyle brand it is today.

The artist, who's gone by various monikers including Puff Daddy and P Diddy, was widely credited as key to hip hop's journey from the streets to the bottle-service club.

Over the decades he's amassed vast wealth not least due to his ventures in the liquor industry.

But despite his efforts to cultivate an image of a smooth party kingpin and business magnate, multiple lawsuits describe Combs as a violent man who used his celebrity to prey on his victims.

He has no major convictions but has long been trailed by allegations of physical assault, dating back well into the 1990s.

Late last year the floodgates opened after singer Cassie, whose real name is Casandra Ventura, alleged Combs subjected her to more than a decade of coercion by physical force and drugs as well as a 2018 rape.

The pair met when Ventura was 19 and he was 37, after which he signed her to his label and they began a romantic relationship.

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The bombshell suit was quickly settled out of court, but a string of similarly lurid sexual assault claims followed — including one in December by a woman who alleged Combs and others gang-raped her when she was 17.

Combs has vehemently denied all accusations against him.

US Homeland Security officials have not said why the recent raids were carried out, and no federal charges have been leveled against Combs whose lawyers called the searches an "unprecedented ambush."

But the coordinated operation suggests a serious case may be