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'Diddy' Combs' properties searched in sex traffic probe

Two properties belonging to rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs' in Los Angeles and Miami have been searched by US Homeland Security Investigations agents and other law enforcement as part of an ongoing sex trafficking investigation.

Two law enforcement officials officials on Monday said the searches were connected to a sex trafficking investigation by federal authorities in New York. It was not clear whether Combs was the target of the investigation.

The officials were not authorised to publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity.

In a statement, Homeland Security Investigations said it "executed law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation, with assistance from HSI Los Angeles, HSI Miami, and our local law enforcement partners".

A representative for Combs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There have been several sexual assault lawsuits filed against Combs in recent months, including a lawsuit from the R&B singer Cassie that was settled last year.

In February a music producer filed a lawsuit alleging Combs coerced him to solicit prostitutes and pressured him to have sex with them. Combs' attorney Shawn Holley has said of those allegations that "we have overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies".

Combs' former protege and girlfriend, the R&B singer Cassie, sued him in November alleging years of sexual abuse, including rape. The lawsuit said he forced her to have sex with male prostitutes while he filmed them. The suit was settled the day after it was filed.

Another of Combs' accusers was a woman who said the rap producer raped her two decades ago when she was 17.

The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly as Cassie did.

Combs said in a statement, "I did not do any of the awful things being alleged."

Combs is among the most influential hip-hop producers and executives of the past three decades.

Formerly known as Puff Daddy, he built one of hip-hop's biggest empires, blazing a trail with several entities attached to his famous name. He is the founder of Bad Boy Records and a three-time Grammy winner who has worked with a slew of top-tier artists including Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, Usher, Lil Kim, Faith Evans and 112.