Banned crooner threatens court action over hotel bill

Take note – story published 9 years and 8 months ago

Josif Kobzon, one of three Russian singers banned from entering Latvia, has threatened to take the country to court in a bid to win back his hotel bill.

Kobzon, who has the unique distinction of being banned from entering Latvia on two separate occasions, told the Russian news portal he was incensed that he had splashed out on an expensive hotel suite in the Jurmala resort only to be told he wasn't welcome.

As previously reported by LSM, Kobzon and two other Russian singers were blacklisted by Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics in July on the eve of the Jurmala New Wave song contest which they had been due to attend.

"Together with [my lawyer] I have approached the European court in order to sue the Latvian government for causing moral and material damage," said Kobzon, who also happens to be a member of the Russian Duma.

"I paid 11,500 euros for the hotel stay in Jurmala and the money was never returned," he moaned. 

The three singers put on Latvia's entry blacklist are Kobzon, Oleg Gazmanov and Alla Perfilova, better known as 'Valeriya'.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry said they had been put on the list because they had "through their own words and actions contributed to the undermining of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity." 

The striking-looking Kobzon is sometimes referred to as Russia's answer to Frank Sinatra, not only because of his pleasant voice but also because of his remarkably obvious toupee and alleged links to organised crime - the reason for his first blacklisting in 2001-4.

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