Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

Dubai government denies R Kelly concert bookings

Singer's lawyer claims he had signed a contract with a promoter to perform

R&B star R Kelly leaves the Chicago courthouse on Friday. Reuters
R&B star R Kelly leaves the Chicago courthouse on Friday. Reuters

The Dubai government has “forcefully denied” reports that singer R Kelly was planing to perform in the emirate.

The musician, who is facing a string of sex abuse charges dating back to 1998 against four women, three of whom were underage at the time, was due to perform in three to five shows next month in Dubai, according to his lawyer.

He was required to seek permission from the court to travel after surrendering his passport to US authorities.

The concerts had not been promoted online. And Dubai Media Office has now denied that they were ever due to take place, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R. Kelly nor are there any venues that have been booked

Dubai Media Office

“Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R Kelly, nor are there any venues that have been booked,” it said.

It added that the singer “has not been invited by the Dubai royal family for a performance”.

In a reply to the Associated Press, Kelly’s lawyer Steven A Greenberg said: “Mr Kelly had a signed contract with a legitimate promoter, and any information that was included in the motion to travel was from that contract.

“We did not say he was invited by the royal family, but the contract did say that he would make himself available to meet with them."

It had been reported that Mr Greenberg would file a motion last week asking permission for Kelly to fly to Dubai on a private jet, arguing he needs to work to “pay his day-to-day living expenses”.

"If you can't play a show, if you can't go out on tour, they're not streaming your music any more. Obviously, you're going to have financial problems," Mr Greenberg told US media.

On Friday it was reported that the singer's trip to Dubai had been postponed after his lawyer asked a judge for more time to provide details on what the travel and concerts in the UAE would entail.

Mr Greenberg previously said Kelly "really doesn't have any money at this point" due to "mismanagement", "hangers-on" and "bad deals”.

Kelly pleaded not guilty to all sexual assault charges and is out on bail.

But it is not the first time he has faced such allegations in court. In 2002, he faced 21 counts of child pornography from a sex tape with a girl who was allegedly underage. He was not convicted as prosecutors could not prove she was underage.

Sexual abuse allegations against the R&B star stem back to the 1990s, but he has faced renewed scrutiny in recent months following a six-part documentary called Surviving R Kelly, which aired in the US in January. More than 50 women who claimed he abused them were interviewed for the documentary.

Kelly claims to have been a victim of sexual abuse as a child himself, having been raped by a female family member when he was eight years old.

Updated: March 25, 2019 04:55 PM

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