It has now been revealed that some of the world's biggest pop stars were paid millions of dollars to perform at private concerts for Russian oligarchs.
Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Sting, Prince, and Robbie Williams are among the global superstars who have reportedly performed for Russian billionaires at weddings, corporate events, and glitzy galas.
One rock star has now spoken up.
Tommy Stinson, the band's bass guitarist until 2014, revealed that in 2010, the band performed a private gig in Moscow for a Russian energy company. "I can’t even believe we did it," Stinson said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. "It was like ‘What the fuck are we doing here?’"
Oligarch-funded shows, according to one source, are considered part of a high-profile act's revenue stream. "We knew the background and the wealth. It’s a take-the-money industry. ."
Many of Putin's former allies have had their assets frozen and superyachts impounded as a result of the EU, US, and UK imposing harsh sanctions on Russian oligarchs around the world.
Despite the fact that none of the pop stars contacted by Rolling Stone would publicly comment on the performances, it is well documented that a number of acts received millions of dollars from Oligarchs in exchange for their services.
Christina Aguilera reportedly received $2 million in 2005 to sing at the wedding of Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, whose $600 million superyacht was recently impounded by Italian authorities, while Jennifer Lopez and Sting performed separate sets at the wedding of Said Gutseriev, the son of sanctioned Russian billionaire Mikhail Gutseriev, in 2016.
The days of private shows for oligarchs, according to Sting, are over.
"No Oligarch in Britain, Russia or anywhere else is in any position to book a gig, a wedding or a party," he told The Mirror. Those days are over."
Roman Abramovich, one of the world's most well-known oligarchs and the former owner of Chelsea Football Club, is said to have paid Amy Winehouse $2 million for a show at a Moscow art gallery in 2009.
Top international superstars such as Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Killers, as well as the Black Eyed Peas and Prince, performed at Abramovich's legendary New Year's Eve parties.
"With Abramovich, you knew it was going to be a massive offer and that he was good for the money," a source told Rolling Stone of Abramovich's appeal. " "
"If you look at the artists and say, ‘Why would you perform for him?’ Why wouldn’t they? Everyone else is taking the money. I can’t guarantee it, but if the war was over and everyone forgets about it in five years’ time, it will probably be business as usual, " the source added.
By fLEXI tEAM