Shakira strikes last-minute deal in Spanish tax fraud case

On the day her tax evasion trial was set to begin in Barcelona, Shakira announced that she struck a deal with Spanish prosecutors, settling a years-long legal dispute.

Spanish authorities had accused Shakira of failing to pay more than 14.5 million euros — roughly $15.8 million — in income taxes between 2012 and 2014. On Monday, the Colombian singer told the presiding magistrate that she had reached an agreement with prosecutors. According to the Associated Press, Shakira will receive a suspended three-year sentence as part of the deal, as well as pay a fine of 7.3 million euros.

Prosecutors had initially sought an eight-year prison sentence and a fine of 24 million euros.

Shakira, whose legal name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, rejected a deal offered to her by prosecutors in July 2022. The singer continues to maintain her innocence in the matter but said she ultimately chose to settle with Spanish authorities to avoid putting additional stress on her family.

“While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favor, I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight,” Shakira said in a statement Monday.

She added: “I admire tremendously those who have fought these injustices to the end, but for me, today, winning is getting my time back for my kids and my career.”

In exchange for having her sentence waived, however, Shakira will have to pay an additional 432,000 euros. Her legal record will also reflect that she was found guilty of tax fraud — which could have an effect on separate tax evasion charges the singer is still facing.

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According to Spanish law, anyone living in the country for more than six months is considered a resident and must pay taxes. Prosecutors alleged that between 2012 and 2014, Shakira was living in Spain despite listing her official residence in the Bahamas. Spanish officials pointed to a Barcelona home they said Shakira bought in 2012, in which the singer and her then-partner, Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué, lived.

Shakira’s attorneys argued that the singer spent long stretches away from the country during that time, including extended periods in the United States as part of the coaching and judging panel on NBC’s “The Voice.”

While Shakira’s tax woes aren’t over just yet — in September, Spanish authorities charged her with alleged tax evasion on her 2018 income — the 46-year-old pop star has had a victorious 2023 otherwise. She was honored with a Video Vanguard honor at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards — becoming the first South American artist to win the lifetime achievement award. Earlier this year, she released a record-breaking collab with Argentine DJ Bizarrap, a pointed diss track aimed at her ex Piqué. The couple, who were together 11 years, announced their separation in June 2022, amid rumors that the soccer player had cheated on Shakira with a woman more than 20 years her junior.

Last week, the song won Shakira a Latin Grammy for song of the year. The award was handed to her by Piqué’s on-field rival, Sergio Ramos, in front of her and Piqué’s two sons, who were in the audience.


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