Colombo sues organisers of Enrique Iglesias concert over taxes

  • AFP, Colombo
  • Updated: Jan 09, 2016 17:00 IST
Sri Lankan commuters journey past a billboard in Colombo, associated with a concert of the Latin popstar Enrique Iglesias. Organisers have been publicly attacked by President Maithripala Sirisena for organising an “uncivilised “ concert by the pop star. (AFP Photo)

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

Colombo Mayor AJM 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 said that 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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