BARCELONA: Colombian diva Shakira goes on trial in Barcelona today in a tax fraud case as Spanish prosecutors are requesting that the Grammy-winning singer get a sentence of more than eight years in prison.
The 46-year-old singer Shakira, is facing accusations of defrauding the Spanish state of 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014. She denies these charges, asserting that she only became a full-time resident of Spain in 2015.
The case revolves around the time Shakira, known as the Queen of Latin Pop, spent in Spain from 2012 to 2014. Spanish authorities claim she spent more than half of that period in the country and should have paid taxes accordingly. They allege that Shakira moved to Spain in 2011 after her relationship with Gerard Pique became public but maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015.
According to the prosecution, Shakira “used a set of companies” based in tax havens “with the intention of not paying” tax in Spain. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year, two-month jail term and a fine of nearly 24 million euros ($24 million) for the singer.
Shakira’s defense argues that until 2014, she led a “nomadic life” and earned most of her income from international tours. They claim she permanently moved to Barcelona just before the birth of her second son in January 2015.
In a 2022 interview, Shakira stated, “I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So, as of today, I owe zero to them.”
After a decade-long relationship, the singer announced her split from Gerard Pique in June 2022, moving to Miami with their two sons in April.
The trial, set to run until December 14, is expected to reveal details of Shakira’s private life. Spanish prosecutors conducted a thorough investigation, interviewing neighbors and examining social media images, hairdresser payments, and even the health clinic she attended during her pregnancy.
Spain has been stringent in addressing celebrity tax evasion, with football stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo facing penalties. Shakira’s former partner, Pique, was convicted of tax fraud in 2016 and ordered to pay the tax office 2.1 million euros.
Despite the legal challenges, Shakira recently received three awards at the Latin Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and Best Pop Song.