The government of Dubai has denied that any R. Kelly concerts are planned in the United Arab Emirates after Kelly’s attorney asked a Chicago judge last week to delay a ruling on the R&B singer’s request to travel to Dubai to perform.
Local newspaper “The National,” which has government ties, carried a story Monday quoting statements made to the Associated Press by the Dubai Media Office denying that any venues in Dubai had been booked for R. Kelly to perform.
Last Friday, during a hearing in Chicago, Kelly’s legal team had said they were preparing contracts for three to five shows in Dubai in April, to give the judge a more detailed proposed travel itinerary.
Kelly’s request to travel came as he faces 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse against four women, three of whom were underage at the time. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, but he cannot legally leave the country, as a judge ordered him to surrender his passport. He was also arrested on suspicion of nonpayment of more than $160,000 in child support last month. For both arrests, Kelly was bailed out by unnamed fans after spending three days in jail.
Kelly’s lawyers had said the Dubai concerts were scheduled between April 17 and April 19 and argued that the singer’s work required him to travel. In addition to denying that any concerts were scheduled, the Dubai Media Office dismissed an assertion by Kelly’s lawyers that he was to meet with the emirates’ ruling Al Maktoum family. The media office told the AP on Sunday that Kelly “has not been invited by the Dubai royal family for a performance.”
In an e-mail to the AP, 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 provide that he would make himself available to meet with them.”
The National noted that the supposed concerts in Dubai had not been promoted online, which does not rule out the possibility that some type of event there was not planned.
Dubai’s luxury clubs are known to host big performers for elite private events. Wealthy families also book big acts for private parties.