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CHICAGO – Cash-strapped R&B singer R. Kelly wants a judge to let him travel to the Middle East to perform several concerts, saying he has struggled to get work in the U.S. since his February arrest on sex-abuse charges.

A defence filing Wednesday in Chicago says Kelly would do three to five concerts in Dubai. It doesn’t specify which venues he’d play or how much he’d earn.

It says Kelly has struggled to pay child support, legal fees and other bills. It blames the cancellation of Illinois concerts and a record-company contract, and streaming services removing his songs.

As a bond condition in his sexual abuse case, Kelly must stay in Illinois unless a judge approves out-of-state travel.

The filing asserts that Kelly isn’t a flight risk, saying the United Arab Emirates would never jeopardize its U.S. relationship by harbouring a fugitive Kelly.

His next court date is Friday.