Shakira faces more than 8 years in prison if convicted of tax fraud in Spain

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Spanish prosecutors demanded more than eight years in prison and a fine of about $24 million for Shakira for alleged tax fraud, as authorities continue their years-long case against the Colombian pop star.

Shakira’s legal troubles began in 2018 when Spanish authorities accused her of tax evasion amounting to €14.5 million, or nearly $15 million, between 2012 and 2014 — a three-year period during which she claimed she had not yet had officially moved to Spain. A judge concluded last year that prosecutors had gathered enough evidence to bring the tax fraud charges to court.

On Friday, prosecutors revealed six charges against Shakira, 45, after she rejected a settlement agreement earlier this week, El País reported. According to the Spanish newspaper, authorities highlighted the significant amount of taxes she allegedly owed, as well as her track record of using offshore tax havens, as aggravating factors in the case.

The Grammy-winning recording artist, famous for hit songs like “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Waka Waka,” has denied doing anything wrong on multiple occasions, including during her 2019 testimony.

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Shakira’s publicists in London said the singer “has always been cooperative and law-abiding, and has shown impeccable conduct as an individual and as a taxpayer,” the Associated Press reported. Her public relations team in Spain said she immediately refunded the amount she owed to the country’s tax authorities as soon as she was notified. She also deposited another 3 million euros in interest. These payments, El País reported, could be considered a mitigating circumstance by prosecutors when it comes to the length of a possible jail term.

The cost of tax fraud depends on where Shakira lived from 2012 to 2014. She claims her tax residency was in the Bahamas until 2015, when she moved to Barcelona with her partner, FC Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique. (The couple, who have two children together, announced the end of their 11-year relationship last month.)

But according to Spanish researchers, Shakira would have spent more than 200 days in the country in each of those three years. The Spanish government determines that a person 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 observations by fans and photographers.

Prosecutors also allege Shakira bought property in Barcelona in 2012, which later became the family home she shared with Piqué, Reuters reported.

Shakira was one of the celebrities whose names appeared in two large volumes of leaked financial documents, the Paradise Papers in 2017 and the Pandora Papers in 2021. The investigations put her in touch with offshore companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Malta.

Her PR team in Spain and the prosecutor’s office in Barcelona did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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