U.S. sanctions against Russia did not prevent the annexation of Crimea - but they could have the unlikely side effect of preventing Miley Cyrus performing in Finland, her promoters said Thursday.
Booking agent Live Nation Finland told NBC News that its lawyers are investigating whether it will have to cancel Cyrus' concert - and concerts by other U.S. artists including Justin Timberlake - because the planned venue is part-owned by three of the Russian tycoons named in the White House sanctions.
"We are examining the possibility whether this could have an impact on the shows by American artists at this venue," said Nina Castren, chief executive Live Nation Finland.
"We do not know yet if they will have to be canceled but our lawyers are investigating what it means for us and the venues. We should have an answer by [Friday]."
Erika Goldring / Getty Images Contributor
Miley Cyrus performs at Smoothie King Center on March 18 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The legal wrangle, which was first reported by the U.K.'s Financial Times on Thursday, centers on the 13,000-capacity Hartwall Area in the Finnish capital, Helsinki. Cyrus is due to take her Bangerz World Tour there in June, and Timberlake and Nine Inch Nails are booked there in the coming months.
Under the sanctions, no U.S. citizen can provide "economic resources" to anyone named on the White House list, which includes the arena's owners, Gennady Timchenko and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg.
They were named among 27 Russians given asset freezes and travel bans in March by the U.S. Treasury, which described them as part of President Vladimir Putin's "inner circle."
Timchenko is co-founder of oil trading company Guvnor and his "activities in the energy sector have been directly linked to Putin," the Treasury said. The Rotenbergs have "made billions" providing contacts for Putin's pet projects, including the Sochi Winter Olympics and the state-run energy giant, Gazprom.
London law firm Holman Fenwick Willan told the Financial Times the concerts may be safe if they were booked before the bans were put in place. Otherwise the venue may need special dispensation from the Treasury.
Anthony Woolich, a partner at the law firm, told the newspaper: "If [Live Nation] still has to pay money for the use of the venue that could be a problem."
Castren said Cyrus' performance has almost sold out and would be one of the city's biggest music events of the year. All concerts are still listed on the venue's website, which shows the events going ahead as planned.
Representatives for Cyrus and Timberlake declined to comment to the Financial Times.
First published April 3 2014, 8:52 AM