Shakira faces more than 8 years in prison if found guilty of tax evasion in Spain

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Spanish prosecutors have sought more than eight years in prison and a fine of around $24 million for Shakira for alleged tax evasion, as authorities pursue their years-long case against the Colombian pop star.

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

On Friday, prosecutors unveiled six counts against Shakira, 45, after rejecting a settlement agreement earlier this week, El País reported. According to the Spanish newspaper, authorities pointed to the substantial amount of taxes she should have owed, as well as her history of using offshore tax havens, as aggravating factors in the case.

The Grammy-winning performer, famous for hit songs such as ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ and ‘Waka Waka’, has denied wrongdoing on multiple occasions, including during his court testimony in 2019.

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Shakira’s publicists in London said the singer “has always cooperated and obeyed the law, demonstrating impeccable conduct as an individual and as a tax payer,” the Associated Press reported. Its public relations team in Spain said it immediately repaid the amount it owed to the country’s tax agency once it was notified. She also deposited an additional 3 million euros in interest. These payments, El País reported, can be considered a mitigating circumstance by prosecutors regarding the length of a possible prison sentence.

The tax evasion charges depend on where Shakira lived from 2012 to 2014. She claims her tax residence was in the Bahamas until 2015 when she moved to Barcelona with her partner, the 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 investigators, Shakira spent more than 200 days in the country in each of those three years. The Spanish government stipulates that a person who stays in the country for 184 days or more is considered a tax resident. These findings, first published by El País in 2020, were based on a reconstruction of Shakira’s schedule, such as public sightings by fans and photographers.

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

Shakira was among celebrities whose names appeared in two major troves of leaked financial documents, the Paradise Papers in 2017 and the Pandora Papers in 2021. Investigations linked her to offshore companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Malta.

His public relations team in Spain and the Barcelona prosecution did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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