American pop stars Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake could be the unlikely victims of US sanctions against Russia, it was revealed Thursday.
The two artists are both due to play concerts in the Finnish capital Helsinki in the coming months, but the shows are now in doubt because the venue’s Russian owners are included on a US blacklist drawn up last month following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.
Gennady Timchenko and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, part-owners of the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, were among 27 close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin subjected to visa bans and asset freezes by the US as part of its sanctions against Russia.
Timberlake has a sold-out concert scheduled to take place at the arena, Finland’s biggest entertainment venue, in May while Cyrus is due to perform there in June.
Helsinki concert promoter Live Nation Finland said its lawyers were discussing with US authorities whether the sanctions against the venue’s owners would bar Cyrus and Timberlake, as well as other American artists, from performing at the arena.
“We are examining the possibility whether this could have an impact on American artists’ shows,” said Nina Castren, the chief executive of Live Nation Finland.
"If it does, then we will need to come up with a different solution. But I believe that the problem will be solved and the concerts will be held,” she said.
Timchenko, co-founder of oil trader Gunvor, is one of Russia's richest men and a close friend of Putin’s.
The Rotenberg brothers are the billionaire co-owners of SMP Bank and SGM Group, as well as Putin’s former judo sparring partners.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-04-03