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Judge approves Shakira’s tax evasion trial

By | Published on Wednesday 28 September 2022


A judge in Spain has approved a request for Shakira to stand trial for tax evasion in the country, after she refused to settle claims that she has failed to pay 14.5 million euros to the Spanish government.

Prosecutors said that they planned to take the singer to court last month, after settlement negotiations failed, adding that they are pushing for an eight year prison sentence if she is convicted.

The dispute relates to a disagreement over where Shakira was primarily based between 2012 and 2014. The Colombian pop star, who is married to Barcelona football player Gerard Piqué – although they separated earlier this year – became a full resident, and therefore tax payer, of Spain in 2015.

However, Spanish authorities believe that she was also a resident of the country between 2012 and 2014 – despite actually registering her residence in the Bahamas – and therefore should have been paying tax on her worldwide earnings in the country during this time too.

Anyone who spends more than six months of a year in Spain is considered liable for tax in the country. It is argued that Shakira spent most of her time in Spain during the years in question, only travelling abroad for brief periods.

Shakira’s legal reps have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing ever since she was first charged in 2018, insisting that the singer’s finances have been managed entirely legally and properly.

Addressing the accusations against her, and her decision to allow the case to go to trial, in an interview with Elle last week, Shakira said: “I have to fight for what I believe; because these are false accusations”.

“First of all”, she added, “I didn’t spend 183 days per year [in Spain] at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world. Second, I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So as of today, I owe zero to them. And finally, I was advised by one of the four biggest tax specialist firms in the world, PWC, so I was confident that I was doing things correctly and transparently from day one”.

Accusing the Spanish government of making “fictional claims” and then employing a “salacious press campaign to try to sway people”, she said: “It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities do this often not only with celebrities like me, it also happens unjustly to the regular taxpayer. It’s just their style. But I’m confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favour”.

Footballers Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have also faced trial over their taxes in Spain in the last decade. Both were found guilty, but avoided jail time.

A date for Shakira’s trial has not yet been set.