Prosecutors in Spain are seeking a prison sentence of eight years and two months for Colombian pop star Shakira after she rejected a settlement deal in her alleged tax fraud case.
On Tuesday, September 27th a judge in Barcelona ordered the case to go to trial.
In July 2021, Shakira (full name Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll) was charged with failing to pay the Spanish government €14.5 million ($15 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014. According to the Associated Press, prosecutors are also seeking a fine of €24 million ($24 million).
The indictment includes six charges against Shakira. Prosecutors in Barcelona have alleged she lived more than half of each year from 2012 through 2014 in Spain and thus should have paid taxes in the country, while Shakira has argued that her fiscal residence was in the Bahamas.
In a statement, Shakira’s representatives said she “has always cooperated and abided by the law, demonstrating impeccable conduct as an individual and a taxpayer, and faithfully following the counsel of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, a prestigious and globally recognized tax firm.”
Her representatives added, “Unfortunately, the Spanish Tax Office, which loses one out of every two lawsuits with its taxpayers, continues to violate her rights and pursue yet another baseless case. Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the judicial process.”
Shakira also addressed the claims in a recent interview with Elle. “I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit,” she said. “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, PricewaterhouseCoopers, so I was confident that I was doing things correctly and transparently from day one.”
“However, even without evidence to support these fictional claims, as they usually do, they’ve resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to sway people and apply pressure in the media along with the threat of reputational damage in order to coerce settlement agreements,” Shakira added. “It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities do this often not only with celebrities like me (or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, [Xabi] Alonso, and many more), 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 favor.”
Ahead of the trial, Shakira’s public relations team said the musician deposited the amount she was said to owe, along with €3 million in interest.
In June, Shakira ended an 11-year relationship with FC Barcelona star Gerard Piqué. They have two children together and previously lived in Barcelona.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include news of the judge’s decision to move the trial forward, as well as Shakira’s recent comments to Elle.