Russian Authorities Accuse Madonna of Violating Tax and Migration Legislation

Madonna GLAAD - H - 2013

The singer allegedly wasn’t allowed to perform in St. Petersburg last August on the type of visa she had.

Eight months after Madonna’s concert at St. Petersburg’s sports and concert center Peterbugrsky, which raised quite a bit of controversy at the time, Russian authorities claim that by giving a commercial performance, the singer violated the terms of her visa.

Last week, Vitaly Milonov, a notorious St. Petersburg legislator known for authoring the city’s controversial anti-gay law, which came into effect last year, initiated a probe into the case. He claimed that Madonna violated Russia’s tax and migration legislation by performing on the wrong type of visa and, consequently, failing to pay applicable taxes on her fee.

“I don’t like that someone collected Russians’ money and didn’t pay taxes,” Milonov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti wire service, adding that, according to his information, Madonna’s fee for the show was $1.1 million.

Later, the foreign ministry joined in, confirming that the singer’s visa did not allow her to give a commercial performance, the Russian daily Izvestia reported. According to the foreign ministry, Madonna arrived in the country on a single-entry three-month visa that was issued based on an invitation from the culture ministry and limiting the purpose of her visit to “cultural relations.” To be able to perform, the singer should have obtained a work permit, the foreign ministry said.

Madonna’s performance in St. Petersburg stirred controversy because the singer supported the city’s gay community against the newly adopted law during the show, and also voiced support to the jailed Pussy Riot members, whose trial was in progress at the time. In the wake of the concert, a group of the city’s residents tried to sue the singer for the violation of the anti-gay law, but lost.

Now the prosecutor’s office will rule on whether Madonna violated Russia’s migration and tax legislation. The agency wouldn’t comment on the issue.