Spanish prosecutors have called for more than eight years in prison and a fine of around $24 million for Shakira over alleged tax fraud, as the authorities push ahead with their years-long case against the Colombian pop star.
Shakira’s legal woes began in 2018 when Spanish authorities accused her of evading taxes amounting to 14.5 million euros, or nearly 15 million dollars, between 2012 and 2014 — a three-year period during which she claimed she had not yet officially moved to Spain. A judge concluded last year that prosecutors had gathered sufficient evidence to pursue tax fraud charges in court.
On Friday, prosecutors unveiled six charges against Shakira, 45, after she rejected a settlement deal earlier this week, El País reported. According to the Spanish newspaper, authorities highlighted the substantial amount of taxes she allegedly owed, as well as her record of using offshore tax havens, as aggravating factors in the case.
The Grammy-winning performer, famous for hit songs such as “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Waka Waka,” has denied wrongdoing on multiple occasions, including during her court testimony in 2019.
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Shakira’s publicists in London said the singer “has always cooperated and abided by the law, demonstrating impeccable conduct as an individual and a taxpayer,” the Associated Press reported. Her public relations team in Spain said she immediately repaid the amount she owed to the country’s tax agency once she was notified. She also deposited an additional 3 million euros in interest. These payments, El País reported, may be considered a mitigating circumstance by prosecutors when it comes to the length of a potential prison sentence.
The tax fraud charges hinge on where Shakira lived from 2012 to 2014. She claims that her tax residency was in the Bahamas until 2015, when she relocated to Barcelona with her partner, FC Barcelona soccer player Gerard Piqué. (The couple, which has two children together, last month announced the end of their 11-year relationship.)
But according to Spanish investigators, Shakira allegedly spent more than 200 days in the country in each of those three years. The Spanish government stipulates that an individual who stays in the country for 184 days or more is considered a resident for tax purposes. These findings, first published by El País in 2020, were based on a reconstruction of Shakira’s schedule, such as public sightings by fans and photographers.
Prosecutors also allege that Shakira bought property in Barcelona in 2012, which later became the family home she shared with Piqué, Reuters reported.
Shakira was among the celebrities whose names appeared in two major troves of leaked financial documents, the Paradise Papers in 2017 and the Pandora Papers in 2021. The investigations connected her to offshore companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Malta.
Her public relations team in Spain and the prosecutor’s office in Barcelona did not immediately respond to requests for comment.