Shapovalov: "I prefer underage girls!" (The Sun - UK)

Time of publication: 10.02.2003
Controversy ... Tatu

THE manager of teenage pop duo Tatu has admitted he would like to have sex with underage girls.

In a shocking interview with The Sun, Ivan Shapovalov also confesses that his perverted lust sparked Tatu’s image of teenage lesbian sex.

And the 36-year-old dad of one — a former child psychologist — said he took advantage of young girls on the “casting couch” in his search for a wife.

Our investigations also unearthed claims Shapovalov slept with Tatu singer Julia Volkova when she was 14; that neither the girls nor their parents knew of the explicit lesbian nature of the group until they had signed a five-year contract, and that they had to simulate sex acts on stage.

Shapovalov agreed to an exclusive interview with The Sun, along with Julia, 17, and fellow Tatu star Lena Katina, 18, in a bid to explain the idea behind the band.

But his confessions unmask him as a sick svengali intent on exploiting young girls desperate for fame.

Shocking ... Ivan Shapovalov

Shapovalov, who has a 14-year-old son, said: “I got the idea of Tatu from market research. I saw that most people look up pornography on the Internet and of those, most are looking for underage sex.

“I saw their needs weren’t fulfilled. Later, it turned out, I was right. This is the same as my own desires. I prefer underage girls.”

When asked if he slept with underage girls himself. Shapovalov replied: “It doesn’t matter if I have or haven’t. I don’t remember.”

In the past few weeks Tatu have become the biggest-selling Russian group of all time.

They have sold five million copies of their debut single All The Things She Said worldwide and last week they became the first Russian pop group to top the UK charts.

The video, now banned by the BBC, caused outrage for showing the girls kissing wearing skimpy school uniforms.

Shapovalov claimed the girls had started out as good friends and had willingly had sex together from a young age.

Innocent ... Julia aged 11

Their name — Tatu — is an abbreviation of the Russian saying “This girl loves that girl”.

But this lie was exposed when the girls were seen coming out of a Moscow club with two boys and they admitted having boyfriends.

Shapovalov’s cynical manipulation of youngsters can be seen in the way he “auditions” them.

Elena Kipper, a former Tatu songwriter and one of his ex-lovers, insists he regularly has sex with underage girls desperate to be stars.

And Shapovalov, who is separated from his wife, is happy to admit it — although he carefully avoids saying how old they are. He said: “I take advantage of this constantly. Constantly! This is how I intend to find a new bride.”

Elena also accuses him of sleeping with Julia when she was just 14. Though this would not be illegal in Russia, where the age of consent is 14, it would damage the group’s worldwide appeal.

Elena, 27, who quit, a year ago in protest at the explicit nature of Tatu’s video and stage act, said: “From the word go Ivan told me he wanted to have sex with Julia.

Suggestive ... in underwear

“He told me he screwed her on their second meeting. They did it in the back of the car. Of course, Julia was just a young girl from a poor background looking for fame and fortune and Ivan convinced her that was how she could get it.

“One night in his car, a couple of weeks after we formed Tatu, he turned to me and said, ‘Julia was the right choice for the band, you know. She’s a bit stupid but sexy. It was nice to f*** her.’

Julia is hooked on Ivan. On tour I used to share a bed with him but in the early hours Julia would knock on our door, wanting to sleep with Ivan. She had no idea I was there.”

Shapovalov and Julia deny the accusation.

The manager said: “This is not true. Not true.” And Julia lashed out angrily: “You can think what you like but I can tell you that it is not true. Does it look like I’d have an affair with him? Of course, I do find him attractive. He is sympathetic and a nice person.

“For me he is just a friend and a producer but nothing more.”

Shocking ... raunchy pose

Shapovalov studied psychology in the southern town of Saratov before setting up a child psychology practice. After a couple of years he moved to Moscow.

Elena said: “Because he is a psychologist he knows the methods used by doctors to make children open up to him. And on the casting couch he found dozens of girls to act out his fantasies, making them believe he loved them. They all fell in love with him — even I did. He can make you see him as he sees himself.”

Shapovalov admitted to The Sun that neither the girls nor their parents knew before they signed contracts that Tatu would have to pretend to be lesbians.

Elena Pindzhoyan, the girls’ former stage school teacher, says she regrets sending them to the Tatu casting.

The 32-year-old said: “Nobody had any idea what these people were planning. All we were told was it would be a pop group.

“When the parents found out they were very upset but they couldn’t do anything about it. It’s disgusting because this was done to very young girls.

Strip ... Julia on stage last year

“If they had been 18 then I would have said ‘OK’ but they were only children. This will affect them for the rest of their lives.”

And she insists the rumour Shapovalov spread about Julia being kicked out of a kids’ performing troupe called Fidget for being lewd and touching other children was a lie to boost Tatu.

Teacher Elena said angrily: “Ivan is a total fantasist. Julia wasn’t lewd, she just got to the top age of 14 and had to leave like all the rest. She was too old for the troupe.”

While touring the Russian provinces last year the girls were told to strip off and simulate sex acts.

Elena Kipper said: “They were so enthusiastic about being picked and thought we, as their management, knew what we were doing.

“But it got worse and worse. They had to do things like lie on stage with their legs open facing the audience. Or strip to the waist and invite the audience on stage.

“The girls complained but it didn’t make any difference.”

Tatu much ... pair kiss

Shapovalov does not deny the accusation and said: “It is possible that someone from the entourage was telling them to do these things.”

But Julia said loyally: “Yes, we did those things But it was our decision. We liked it. We expected this reaction from Britain.”

And she denied they were too young to simulate sex acts on stage, saying: “No — it is right that we do this now, while we are young.”

Meanwhile, Shapovalov insists the girls are lesbians and that the BBC is “sick” to ban the Tatu video.

He even boasts that since Channel 4 presenter Richard Madeley condemned the single’s “paedophile message”, sales of Tatu album 200km/h In The Wrong Lane have soared.

Shapovalov said: “We didn’t have to use sex to get the band’s song to sell. You don’t need to be sexy to get noticed. You need to be honest.”
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