Shakira, the “Queen of Latin Pop,” is a Colombian music sensation who was almost on her way to spending time in prison in Spain but has luckily cut a deal and avoided trial at the last minute. This comes following her alleged tax fraud trial, scheduled for Barcelona. Prosecutors accuse the 46-year-old singer of cheating the Spanish government of 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) in income between 2012 and 2014, and they are requesting a sentence of more than eight years in prison. Shakira disputes the accusations, arguing that she didn’t go to Spain permanently until 2015. Authorities in Spain assert that Shakira should have paid taxes in Spain, as she spent more than half of that time there and used a network of businesses with tax haven addresses to evade paying taxes there.
Just before her second baby was born in January 2015, the singer moved permanently to Barcelona, according to her defence, which claims that up until 2014, she lived a “nomadic life” and made most of her money from international tours. Shakira, in a 2022 interview with Elle magazine, said,
“I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So, as of today, I owe zero to them.”
Shakira’s trial was set to begin today in a Barcelona courtroom and was assigned to continue until December 14. Close to 120 witnesses were expected in front of the court. The singer faced a sentence of eight years, two months in prison, and a fine of around 24 million euros ($24 million) from the prosecution. According to the prosecutors, her trips to Spain for work and other reasons were “sporadic”. “The accused was abroad for 124 days in 2012, 153 days in 2013, and 122 days in 2014, fulfilling her work obligations and enjoying her free time. She spent 242 days in Spain in 2012, 212 in 2013, and 243 in 2014.
The October 2021 “Pandora Papers” leak exposed the global music icon’s financial dealings and provided information about her Bahamas property. Anyone staying in Spain for more than 183 days is required to declare and pay taxes on their international income. Prosecutors said Shakira chose to use an offshore business structure already in place to conceal her foreign profits and avoid paying income and wealth taxes because she knew she regularly resided in Spain. Shakira’s trial comes after football players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were among the celebrities in Spain targeted for tax evasion.
Even though Shakira was scheduled to testify during the opening session, she could also request an excuse subsequently. According to the press, pop singer Shakira reportedly made a deal with Spanish authorities on the opening day of a tax fraud trial in Barcelona to avoid facing jail time. The Colombian singer reached an agreement to pay a $7.5 million fine. The result of this well-known case will be carefully monitored, considering the nation’s recent legal proceedings against prominent individuals for comparable financial issues.