Shakira’s trial in which she is tried for tax evasion of almost 14.5 million euros begins on Monday in Barcelona. Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of more than 8 years in prison for the 46-year-old Colombian artist and a fine of 23.8 million euros. Shakira, accused of failing to pay her taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014, still has the option of striking a last-minute deal with prosecutors that would see the proceedings suspended if the artist pleads guilty and pays a hefty fine. AFP reports.
Shakira was summoned at 09:00 GMT at a court in the Catalan metropolis, where she lived for years with former footballer Gerard Piqué before their highly publicized split last year.
However, a last-minute deal with prosecutors – under which Shakira could plead guilty and pay a hefty fine in exchange for a stay of proceedings – is still possible.
Contacted by AFP, the singer’s lawyers, who declared last year that a trial is a “matter of principle” to defend her innocence, stated that an agreement has not yet been reached with the prosecutor’s office, but that it remains theoretically possible “until at the last moment”.
Prosecutors accused Shakira of not paying her taxes in Spain in 2012, 2013 and 2014, although, according to the prosecutor, she lived in the country for more than 183 days a year during that period, the threshold above which a person must to be considered a tax resident.
The prosecutor asked for a sentence of eight years and two months in prison and a fine of 23.8 million euros.
Shakira denies the allegations
The singer categorically denies these allegations, and her lawyers say that although the artist started a relationship with Piqué in 2011, she never stopped traveling the world because of her career.
Shakira claims she only settled permanently in Barcelona in late 2014, before transferring her tax residence from the Bahamas to Spain in 2015, just before the birth of her second child.
“The tax authorities saw that I had a relationship with a Spanish citizen and they started salivating,” she claimed last year in an interview with ELLE magazine.
“I don’t owe anything to the tax authorities and I am sure that I have enough evidence to support my case and to make sure that the courts will rule in my favor,” said the singer, who has already paid 17.2 million euro to the tax office in order to regularize his situation.
This summer, the prosecutor’s office launched another case against the singer, who moved to Miami with her children after separating, for another tax evasion, from 2018, estimated at six million euros.
How long will the process take?
The trial is expected to last until mid-December, with almost 120 witnesses.
To support the accusation, tax investigators dissected the star’s private life, questioning her neighbors, checking her accounts on social networks, monitoring her expenses in hair salons in Barcelona or in the clinic where she was treated in the city for her pregnancy its in 2012-2013.
These were “unacceptable methods”, according to Shakira’s lawyers, who saw her name appear in the “Pandora Papers”, a vast journalistic investigation published at the end of 2021 that accuses several hundred celebrities of having hidden assets in offshore companies.
A landmark of Latin pop music, Shakira was recently in the spotlight for her difficult breakup with Piqué, which she recounted in “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53.”
This collaboration with Argentina’s Bizarrap became a worldwide hit, which won a Latin Grammy for song of the year on Thursday and whose lyrics also refer to her “debt to the tax authorities”.
“People from my team tried to convince me to change the lyrics, but I’m not a UN diplomat,” he told the Spanish magazine ¡Hola!
Apart from Shakira, many other celebrities have had problems with the Spanish tax authorities in recent years, including footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, who were sentenced to less than two years in prison which they did not have to serve because their criminal records were clean.
Piqué, for his part, was convicted in 2016 for tax evasion related to his image rights and was forced to repay over 2.1 million euros to the tax authorities.
Editor: Andreea Smerea