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Fri Jul 29 07:58:44 SAST 2016

Sri Lankan capital sues Enrique Iglesias concert organiser over 'unpaid taxes'

AFP | 09 January, 2016 11:29
Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias performs during a concert at the Starlite Festival in Marbella, southern Spain, August 13, 2015.
Image by: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

The mayor of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo said Saturday he was suing a company that staged a controversial Enrique Iglesias concert to recover millions in unpaid entertainment taxes.

Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil said he had been forced to take legal action to recover an estimated 30 million rupees ($214,000) from Live Events, a company owned by former Sri Lankan cricket stars Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

Iglesias's December 20 performance in the Sri Lankan capital drew widespread criticism including from President Maithripala Sirisena after reports local women shed their underwear and threw them at the singer.

Both former cricketers have since apologised for the "negative experience" during the one-hour concert, which saw fans pay up to 50,000 rupees for tickets to the Colombo leg of Spanish star's world tour, "Love and Sex".

The Colombo Municipality said event organisers sold "invitations" to the event to avoid paying taxes and that more tickets had been sold than the number disclosed to the authorities.

"I tried to talk to them and resolve this issue, but Live Events has subcontracted work to another company and they seem to be having internal problems," Muzammil told AFP.

"This leaves me no option but to sue Live Events to recover our dues."

Live Events did not immediately respond to AFP's requests for comment.

The company said previously they were considering giving refunds to fans who were disappointed due to the concert's delayed start and ensuing crowd chaos.

Those who had bought the most expensive tickets were said to have been dislodged by people who bought cheaper tickets as security and crowd control arrangements failed.

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