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War of words: Plagiarism row roils French, Russian pop stars

Associated Press logo Associated Press 11/30/2016 By NATALIYA VASILYEVA, Associated Press
French musician Didier Marouani speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Didier Marouani and his Russian lawyer were detained late on Tuesday and spent a night in a Moscow police station after a Russian pop star accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) © The Associated Press French musician Didier Marouani speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Didier Marouani and his Russian lawyer were detained late on Tuesday and spent a night in a Moscow police station after a Russian pop star accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW (AP) — A French musician and his Russian lawyer spent a night in a Moscow police station after a Russian pop star accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism dispute.

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 5, 2016, file photo, Russian pop singer Filipp Kirkorov smiles at the GUM Department store in Red Square, Moscow, Russia. French composer Didier Marouani and his Russian lawyer Igor Trunov have been detained Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, and spent a night in a Moscow police station after Russian pop star Filipp Kirkorov has accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, July 5, 2016, file photo, Russian pop singer Filipp Kirkorov smiles at the GUM Department store in Red Square, Moscow, Russia. French composer Didier Marouani and his Russian lawyer Igor Trunov have been detained Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, and spent a night in a Moscow police station after Russian pop star Filipp Kirkorov has accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

Didier Marouani, a disco star who first toured the Soviet Union in 1983, and his lawyer, Igor Trunov, were detained Tuesday evening in a bank where they said they planned to sign an out-of-court settlement with Filipp Kirkorov, Russia's biggest pop star.

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, file photo, Russian pop singer Filipp Kirkorov arrives for the final of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia. French composer Didier Marouani and his Russian lawyer Igor Trunov have been detained Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 and spent a night in a Moscow police station after Russian pop star Filipp Kirkorov has accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, file photo, Russian pop singer Filipp Kirkorov arrives for the final of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia. French composer Didier Marouani and his Russian lawyer Igor Trunov have been detained Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 and spent a night in a Moscow police station after Russian pop star Filipp Kirkorov has accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

Marouani, 63, claims one of Kirkorov's songs, "Cruel Love," contains music he wrote years before.

In this late Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 photo French composer Didier Marouani is detained by police outside a bank in Moscow, Russia. Marouani and his Russian lawyer Igor Trunov have been detained Tuesday and spent a night in a Moscow police station after Russian pop star Filipp Kirkorov has accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (Krill Zykov/Moscow news agency via AP) © The Associated Press In this late Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 photo French composer Didier Marouani is detained by police outside a bank in Moscow, Russia. Marouani and his Russian lawyer Igor Trunov have been detained Tuesday and spent a night in a Moscow police station after Russian pop star Filipp Kirkorov has accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (Krill Zykov/Moscow news agency via AP)

The musician and lawyer were released without charges early Wednesday.

French musician Didier Marouani gestures speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Didier Marouani and his Russian lawyer were detained late on Tuesday and spent a night in a Moscow police station after a Russian pop star accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) © The Associated Press French musician Didier Marouani gestures speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Didier Marouani and his Russian lawyer were detained late on Tuesday and spent a night in a Moscow police station after a Russian pop star accused them of extorting 1 million euros from him in a plagiarism row. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

The flashy Kirkorov, 49, who said in a recent interview that he has socialized with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for decades, has been a household name in Russia since the early 1990s.

Wearing sunglasses in the middle of a freezing Moscow night, Kirkorov in televised remarks thanked police for "defending my honor and dignity that was called into question by foreign musicians who wrongly accused me of something I didn't do."

Kirkorov, speaking on Russian state television, said there was no agreement to settle the dispute out of court and that he turned to police because Marouani's demand for a 1 million euro payment amounted to extortion.

Marouani, who was one of the rare Western musicians to perform in the Soviet Union before perestroika, dismissed Kirkorov's accusations.

"I have been coming to Russia for 33 years," he told Russian television after he was released. "And now I'm saying for the first time that my song was stolen, and music experts agree with me."

Marouani said he plans to bring both a plagiarism lawsuit and a slander claim against Kirkorov.

Kirkorov, in turn, dismissed Marouani's accusations of plagiarism. The song in question was written by a Russian composer years before Marouani first performed it, he said.

"I don't want blood, I don't want jailing," he said, adding he does expect Marouani's apology.

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