Entertainment
Human rights group accuses JLo of accepting money from 'crooks and dictators'

Singer Jennifer Lopez performs at "The Sound of Change" concert at Twickenham Stadium in London in this June 1, 2013 file photo.

Credits: REUTERS/Neil Hall/Files

QMI AGENCY

Jennifer Lopez has received "in excess of $10 million for serenading crooks and dictators from Eastern Europe and Russia," the New York-based Human Rights Foundation claimed Friday.

Last month, HRF questioned the singer's decision to perform at a lavish birthday party for Turkmenistan's president Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who is accused of running one of the most repressive governments in the world.

In a strongly worded statement on its site, HRF says,  “J.Lo has repeatedly mingled with and entertained some of the world’s worst thugs and their cronies. The ‘Jenny-from-the-block-who-doesn't-Google’ clarification may be credible in one instance, but it beggars belief in light of a pattern of repeated behavior.

This is not about ignorance, it’s about greed.”

The group claims JLo was paid $1 million by "corrupt Uzbek industrialist Azam Aslanov to perform at the wedding of his son" in 2011, that she received "$1.4 million to perform at the birthday celebration in Moscow of a businessman engaged in widely reported acts of corruption: Russian oligarch Telman Ismailov," and that Lopez travelled to Russia last year "where she was scheduled to sing happy birthday to Alexander Yolkin, a Russian bureaucrat accused of corruption. Yolkin was arrested the day before Lopez’s performance at his birthday party."

After news of her performance in Turkeminstan broke, Lopez's publicist issued a statement saying, "Had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended." She added the show was a last minute request.

HRF president Thor Halvorssen says this claim "is contradicted by both coverage of the event in Turkmenistan itself and the fact that the event was financed by the Chinese dictatorship. The China National Petroleum Corporation, an oil company owned by the Chinese regime, underwrote the event for a reported $2.5 million fee and is itself under scrutiny for human rights violations in Burma."

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