Russian Crooner Tries Again For U.S. Visa

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The U.S. has banned Joseph Kobzon from entering the country since 1995. Kobzon, who's also a member of the Russian parliament, says allegations that he has ties to the mob are baseless. Thousands of Russian-Americans have signed a petition asking that he be let into the U.S.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now for our last word in business: crooner.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JOSEPH KOBZON: (Singing in foreign language)

MONTAGNE: Joseph Kobzon has been called Russia's Frank Sinatra for his voice and also for his suspected mob connections. That's why the U.S. has banned him from entering the country since 1995.

Kobzon, who's also a member of the Russian parliament, says the allegations are baseless. Now aging and ailing, he wants to make one last attempt to entertain Russian emigre fans in the U.S. His promoter has organized a petition with thousands of signatures, in the hopes that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will take mercy and grant Kobzon a visa for a final tour this May.

Get ready, Brighton Beach.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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