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French musician 'held' after crying foul in Russia

A French composer aiming to settle a plagiarism claim against a Russian singer has run into trouble after the singer accused him of extortion. The Frenchman was met by police while trying to sign a settlement.

Russland französischer Musiker Didier Marouani festgenomen (picturealliance/dpa/TASS/A. Geodakyan)

Marouani claims the Russian singer copied his "Symphonic Space Dream" song

Russian singer Philipp Kirkorov complained to the Moscow police that the French musician Didier Marouani and his legal representative Igor Trunov were trying to extort one million euros ($1.15 million) from him, officials said on Tuesday.

"Based on this report, a preliminary inquiry has been started," a police spokesman told the Russian Interfax news agency.

Marouani, who was the founder and leader of the French band Space, accused the Russian of plagiarizing one of his songs earlier this month. The composer subsequently traveled to Russia and raised his complaint before a Moscow court.

According to Marouani's lawyers, the two musicians had since agreed to settle the case.

"We have correspondence with Kirkorov, showing that he promised to pay the compensation," said Ayvar.

Marouani camp claims a 'set up'

Philipp Kirkorov Russland Sänger und Produzent (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Maltsev)

The singer Kirkorov has been involved in several public altercations since his rise to fame in the 1990s

In order to conclude the matter, Marouani and Trunov set up a meeting with Kirkorov on Tuesday in a Moscow bank, she added.

"They had gone to sign the settlement with Philipp Kirkorov, but were met by the police," according to Ayvar. "I believe it was a set up."

Later on Tuesday, Ayvar told the TASS news agency that the pair has been released.

The lawyers of Kirkorov deny the settlement plans. According to Kirkorov's representative Alexander Dobrovinsky, Marouani and Trunov wanted one million euros "so they would not spread negative information" about the singer.

dj/gsw (AFP, Interfax)