Dictators pay millions for private celeb concerts: report
On the day toppled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak had his known assets frozen, news also broke that Muammar al-Gaddafi, the embattled Libyan leader, was handing out cash to his people through the nation’s banks.
Here’s a new wrinkle, though. At the same time dictators are reviled for allegedly swiping dough from their countries, they’re also being outed for their lavish spending patterns. Like, say, $2 million for a private Beyonce concert.
Yes, according to gossip site BLTWY, Gaddafi and his family once paid the Destiny’s Child singer $2 million to perform at an exclusive party in St. Barts in 2009. Jay-Z, Lindsay Lohan, Bon Jovi – they were all there, too.
In fact, the whopping Beyonce price tag wasn’t the first dictator-fan spending spree, nor was it for the Gaddafi clan, either. Members of the Libyan leader’s family also paid $1 million for a private Mariah Carey concert in 2008, this time at the behest of Gaddafi’s son Muatassim (other child Hannibal doled out the $2 mil for Beyonce a year later).
The Beyonce/Carey figures are the only exact dollar amounts we know, but BLTWY reports despots have been paying for private celeb performances for years.
In addition to Usher singing at the 2009 Gaddafi-funded concert, Sting is known to have played for Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov in 2010 and Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers held a concert for Fidel Castro in 2001.
A pay-for-play request was also put in for “Lady in Red” singer Chris de Burgh in 2007, though the British/Irish soft-rocker never ended up jamming in front of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after all.
Everyone loves music, to be sure, and no one should be faulted for catching their favourite acts live. But when the cash needed to make that happen may not have come honest, it’s a tough sell for anyone – even dictators that rule with an iron fist.
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money