Any hope that disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly has of traveling to Dubai for performances appeared dashed after Dubai officials on Sunday denied that he had any contracts for concerts in the sheikhdom. Kelly, who said he’s broke, faces aggravated sexual abuse charges in Illinois. Under the terms of his bond, Kelly was ordered to remain in Illinois and surrender his passport.
“Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R. Kelly nor are there any venues that have been booked,” a statement from the Dubai government said, according to the Washington Post.
Kelly’s lawyer told the court in Illinois that there were also plans to meet members of Dubai’s ruling family.
The statement added that Kelly “has not been invited by the Dubai royal family for a performance.”
Kelly was charged on Feb. 22 with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse for allegedly assaulting three underage girls and one adult woman. The charges came after the release of the “Surviving R. Kelly.”
Steven A. Greenberg, Kelly’s attorney, said in a recent court filing that the singer needs money because “he has struggled of late to pay his child support and other child-related expenses.”
After his initial arrest in February, Kelly was taken into custody again for failing to pay more than $160,000 in child support but was released a few days later after someone else paid his bond.
The court filing also read, “Before he was arrested Mr. Kelly had signed a contract to perform between 3-5 shows in Dubai, UAE, in April 2019. He requests permission to travel to Dubai for the shows. While there he is supposed to meet with the royal family.”
Since the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kelly’s request to travel raised lots of concerns.
The family of Joycelyn Savage feared that he would take her with him and never return. Savage, 23, is one of Kelly’s girlfriends who has been estranged from her family for several years. Kelly is 52 years old.
The latest sex crime charges he is facing stem from attorney Michael Avenatti giving purported child porn videos to prosecutors that featured the singer. Avenatti said he was hired last April in connection to multiple allegations of Kelly sexually assaulting minors. He claimed to have videotaped evidence, which, despite their similarities, were apparently not the same video footage that got Kelly indicted in 2002 — and acquitted in 2008 — for child porn.