R Kelly: Dubai denies plans for R&B singer to perform and meet royal family

Roisin O'Connor
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R Kelly: Dubai denies plans for R&B singer to perform and meet royal family

Dubai's government has issued a rare statement denying that R Kelly was booked to perform concerts in the city, as claimed by his legal team.

Kelly's lawyers asked a US judge for permission for him to travel to the United Arab Emirates city in order to earn money to pay child support and other expenses.

The court filing said that he was unable to work in Illinois or "even the United States" due to his performances being cancelled, after he was charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse against one woman and three underage girls.

"Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R Kelly nor are there any venues that have been booked," the government's Dubai Media Office said, adding that, contrary to Kelly's lawyer's claims, he "has not been invited by the Dubai royal family for a performance".

Following the statement, Kelly's lawyer Steve Greenberg clarified the specifics of the filing and reasserted that Kelly had plans to perform in Dubai.

"R Kelly has a contract with a legitimate promoter," he said. "Any information included in his motion to travel was from that contract. A copy was provided to the prosecutor."

Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who is representing some of the women who claim they were abused by Kelly, tweeted after the Dubai statement: "I cannot wait to see what R Kelly's explanation is for the outright lies to the court, the media and the public. Every indication is that he fabricated the concerts in Dubai and the meeting with the Royal family in an attempt to flee the country."

Greenberg dismissed Avenatti's claim, saying: "The idea that R Kelly would ask for permission to travel in order to flee is nonsensical."

Kelly's legal team has delayed a ruling on travel permission until his next court hearing in May, in order to satisfy the judge's outstanding questions.