The leader of a cult French disco band has been detained in Moscow following a plagiarism dispute with a Russian pop star who recently made the news speaking about his long friendship with US president-elect Donald Trump, the Guardian informs.
Didier Marouani, who founded the band Space in 1977, was detained with his Russian representative Igor Trunov in a bank in downtown Moscow on Tuesday evening, state news agency TASS reported. The agency later published a photograph of the Frenchman inside the bank, scratching his head with a bemused look on his face.
The lawyer for Russian pop star Philipp Kirkorov said Marouani and Trunov had been detained on suspicion of extorting €1m from his client.
The pop stars’ squabble stems from a plagiarism lawsuit Marouani brought in a Moscow court this month, alleging that Kirkorov’s song Cruel Love was partly copied from the Space tune Symphonic Space Dream. The French group sought 75.34m roubles (£925,000) in damages and a ban on Kirkorov performing his 2002 hit.
The Russian side dismissed the accusations as a PR ploy, and Cruel Love’s composer, Oleg Popkov, claimed that it had been registered in the Russian Authors’ Society in 2000, two years before the Symphonic Space Dream came out. “It’s still not clear who stole from whom,” he told state news agency RIA Novosti.
A Moscow court rejected Marouani’s lawsuit, saying it had no jurisdiction to try it, and Trunov said they might go to a US court. But on Monday, he told TASS that after three days of negotiations Kirkorov had consented to pay Marouani compensation.
The French musician flew to Moscow the same day, although Kirkorov’s lawyer soon denied that an agreement had been reached. Police were waiting in the bank where the French side had come in the expectation of signing a settlement.