The Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General issued a nine-page report saying pop stars Beyonce and Jay Z did not violate any U.S. sanctions laws during their visit to Cuba last year.
The couple traveled to Cuba in April 2013 for their fifth wedding anniversary, which prompted immediate criticism that they engaged in tourist activities that are illegal under the U.S. embargo against Cuba.
Under current law and regulation, travel to the island nation is permitted under license. Treasury’s OIG said their visit was properly licensed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control under the so-called “people-to-people” educational exchange program.
It’s possible to get a people-to-people license to Cuba and then abuse it by engaging in too many tourist activities, or otherwise straying from allowable licensed activities. But the OIG found that Beyonce and Jay Z’s activities in Cuba did not violate the terms of the license.
“Based on our review of available documentation and applicable regulations and guidance, we found no indication that U.S. sanctions were violated, and we concluded that the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s decision not to pursue a formal investigation was reasonable,” the OIG report said.
While the trip happened during the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary, the report said the trip adhered to the terms of the license, which included a welcome dinner, a walking tour of various Cuban neighborhoods, and trips to see student artwork and theater performances.
“For example, one article reported the trip included a visit to a children’s theater group and several clubs, where the couple heard live music and occasionally took to the dance floor,” the report said. “According to the article, they also toured Cuba’s top art school, where they met with young artists, and ate at some of Havana’s privately run restaurants, known as ‘paladares.’ ”
But it added, “all of these activities serve the U.S. foreign policy goal of heeling the Cuban people by facilitating exchanges with them and supporting the development of independent activity and civil society.”
The couple, whose legal names are Shawn Carter and Beyonce Knowles-Carter, are reportedly preparing to divorce.
Read the OIG report here:
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