Aug 7, 2015

Chris Brown promoter denies defrauding Philippine religious sect

Agence France-Presse in Manila
The Guardian
August 7, 2015

Chris Brown
Chris Brown was stopped from leaving Manila
 on 22 July amid a fraud complaint filed against
 him by the Christian group Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ)
Chris Brown’s promoter has denied defrauding an influential Philippine religious sect in a case that almost derailed his world tour, according to lawyers for the American hip-hop star’s business partner.

Brown was left in limbo at a hotel room in Manila for three days last month as the immigration bureau stopped him leaving the country over a concert row with the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ).

His Canadian promoter, Michael Pio Roda, was arrested. He denies he and Brown received $1m (about £645,000) for a 31 December concert hosted by the sect last year in which the singer was a no-show, his lawyers said in a statement.

“To hold Mr Pio Roda accountable for the entire $1m … is not only without legal or factual basis but is a travesty of justice and a continued violation of human rights,” they said.

The Iglesia-linked local concert producer Maligaya Development Corp, has asked the justice department to file criminal fraud charges against Brown and Pio Roda for failing to show up at the concert even though they had been advanced their million-dollar fee.

Philippine prosecutors are studying the fraud complaint to determine if criminal charges will be filed in court.

Brown did not attend the show due to a lost passport.

The tattooed and gold-toothed star performed at another concert in Manila last month, but was stranded in his hotel due to the fraud complaint.

During his forced stay in Manila, he posted bizarre videos where he breakdanced and got down on his knees, begging the authorities to allow him to leave and resume his world tour.

Despite eventually being allowed to leave the country, the fraud complaint hearings against him will proceed, authorities said.

A spokesman for the Iglesia was unavailable on Friday, while a Maligaya official declined comment when contacted by AFP.

Pio Roda’s lawyers said he received just $45,000 from Maligaya. He and Brown received another $578,750 in advance from another company involved in Brown’s show, J Williams Management, the statement said.

However, there was already agreement between the parties that this would be repaid under a “compromise” signed last month before Brown’s Manila concert, it added.

“Mr Pio Roda’s Gestapo-like arrest and detention beginning 23 July 2015 and the filing of a one-million-dollar criminal complaint is a shocking development, if not a reflection of bad faith in breach of the terms of the compromise agreement,” it said.

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