Attorneys who specialize in tax fraud have been following a story about Colombian music star Shakira. The singer allegedly committed fraud and owes Spain approximately €14.5m (£12.9m). She will go to trial in a Spanish court, where prosecutors will attempt to secure a sentence of eight years in jail for the 45-year-old superstar. All wrongdoing has been denied repeatedly by Shakira, but a Barcelona court decreed that she must stand trial–on a date not yet set–for 46 separate tax crimes she allegedly committed between 2012 and 2014. It is unclear how much back taxes are allegedly owed for those years.
Singing Star Proclaims Innocence
In a recent interview with the Spanish edition of Elle Magazine, Shakira said that she is confident that justice will prevail in her favor and stated that she can sufficiently prove her case in court.
According to a Bay Area tax attorney, Shakira’s legal team stated that they would present arguments in favor of the singer at “the proper time.” It was Shakira’s decision to go to trial rather than take a plea deal that prosecutors previously offered.
Allegations Center Around Singer’s Residency Status
At the heart of the tax fraud case against Shakira are allegations that the singer had listed her official residence as being somewhere outside of Spain when this was not the case. Shakira denies this, stating that she was primarily living elsewhere during those years and did not spend the majority of her “home time” in Spain. However, prosecutors issued a document in July alleging that the singer purchased a Barcelona home in 2012, which was her family home for her and Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué, who was her partner at the time.
Spanish law dictates that those spending over six months in the country are regarded as residents for the purpose of taxation, and that Shakira allegedly listed her official residence elsewhere, presumably to avoid taxes.
Lawyers for the singing star stated that up until 2014, the majority of Shakira’s income came from touring internationally, during which time she spent the majority of her days outside of Spain. The superstar claims that Spanish authorities took note that she was dating a citizen of Spain and built the case from there. She stated to Elle Magazine that they “clearly wanted to go after money, no matter what.”
Separate Tax Case Settled by Shakira’s Former Partner
In 2015, Shakira declared her residence as Spain for tax purposes and claims she has no outstanding debts and does not owe any back taxes, having paid €17.2m in taxes for that year. In an unrelated case in 2019, a Spanish national court fined Shakira’s former partner, Gerard Piqué, €2.1m for tax evasion between 2008 and 2010. Shakira has two sons with Piqué, and in early June of this year, the couple announced that their eleven-year relationship had ended. The Elle interview was the first time the singer made reference to their separation publicly, and she referred to it as one of the most difficult periods in her life.
Last week, Shakira refused a settlement offer which would have closed the case, but a trial date was not announced. The details of the rejected settlement were not made public, but Spanish officials demanded a tax bill from all of the singer’s global income for the aforementioned period, not merely the income generated in Spain.
A tax attorney in San Jose has learned that representatives for Shakira claim she considers the case a “violation of her rights,” and that she is “fully confident of her innocence.” Tax attorneys will be following the case as it unfolds.