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R. Kelly denies role in alleged concert scam in South Africa
Promoter allegedly promised investors a cut of singer's tour profits, Johannesburg paper reports

By Stacy St. Clair | Chicago Tribune reporter
August 28, 2008

R&B superstar R. Kelly denies he's headed back to the courtroom less than three months after being acquitted of child pornography charges.

A South African newspaper reported this week that police there want to question the Chicago-born artist in connection with a scam in which a local promoter allegedly swindled thousands of dollars from investors by promising profits of a nonexistent Kelly tour in 2005. The promoter, Busiswe Zakwe, told authorities she deposited $130,000 in Kelly's bank account, according to The Times of Johannesburg.

A law-enforcement official told The Times that authorities have a deposit slip proving the transaction took place and confirmed the account belongs to the singer, whose real name is Robert Kelly.

Kelly's spokesman, Allan Meyer, questioned the validity of the report, saying Kelly had never heard of Zakwe and had not been approached by authorities.

"Robert doesn't know this woman and has not been contacted by any law-enforcement authorities," Meyer said. "He would cooperate fully with any legitimate investigation of this matter, since he has nothing to hide."

An FBI spokesman said he's not aware of any contact between the agency and South African authorities.

At the time of the alleged deposit, Kelly was awaiting trial on child pornography charges stemming from a sex tape prosecutors said he made with his then-teenage goddaughter. As a condition of his bail, Kelly was not allowed to leave the state without the judge's permission, and it's unlikely the multimillionaire would have been permitted to leave the country.

"He wasn't thinking about a South African tour in 2005," Meyer said. "He was focused on his trial."

Kelly, who was acquitted in June, has maintained a low profile since his high-profile trial. Meyer said he has spent the last two months in the recording studio and plans to release a new album, "12 Play: Fourth Quarter," in the fall.

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