Spain's Melia Hotels to pay Daddy Yankee nearly $1 million for jewellery theft


Adds Melia comment in paragraph 6

MADRID, Jan 19 (Reuters) - A Spanish court has ordered hotel chain Melia MEL.MC to compensate Latin music star Daddy Yankee and his wife with $908,950 for a jewellery theft from a hotel room in 2020, court documents showed on Friday.

He, his wife and entourage stayed at the hotel Melia in the Mediterranean city of Valencia in August 2020 to perform at a music festival in nearby Gandia.

On Aug. 6, an unknown person stole jewellery - including two watches, three chains, and four bracelets - valued at over $1 million from the safe in his hotel room, the statement, dated Jan. 9, but released on Friday said.

The court said the thief's modus operandi could not be overlooked when analysing Melia's responsibility.

"He wouldn't have been able to commit the theft if he hadn't had the invaluable but ignored collaboration" of Melia, since "its staff provided copies of the keys to the rooms and opened a safe deposit box without requiring reliable identification from the person making these requests," it said.

A Melia spokesperson said the group did not agree with the judgement and was considering lodging an appeal.

Born Ramon Luis Ayala Rodriguez, Daddy Yankee is best known for the 2004 single "Gasolina", the first reggaeton song nominated for a Latin Grammy Record of the Year award.

Daddy Yankee is often credited with coining the word reggaeton to describe the new dance music genre in the early 1990s that blends hip-hop, Latin Caribbean music and reggae rhythms with Spanish rapping and singing.

"Despacito", Daddy Yankee's collaboration with Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi in 2017, scooped multiple Latin Grammys and Billboard awards that year.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and David Latona; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Louise Heavens)

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