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Shakira leaving the Audiencia Nacional court in Barcelona today. Alamy Stock Photo
Hips Don't Lie

Shakira agrees to pay €7.3 million fine after reaching deal to settle tax fraud case

Prosecutors had accused the singer of defrauding the Spanish state of €14.5 million between 2012 and 2014, which she denied.

COLOMBIAN SINGER SHAKIRA will pay €7.3 million in fines as part of a settlement announced today with Spanish prosecutors to settle her tax fraud case and avoid trial.

Under the deal, announced at the start of what would have been the trial of the 46-year-old singer, Shakira agreed to receive a three-year suspended sentence and to pay €7.3 million in fines.

Prosecutors had accused the singer of defrauding the Spanish state of €14.5 million on income earned between 2012 and 2014, charges Shakira had denied, saying she only moved to Spain full time in 2015.

The singer, who wore a pink suit and sunglasses, did not speak to the throng of reporters as he entered and left the Barcelona courthouse, but in a statement she said she had agreed to settle for the sake of her two sons, Milan and Sasha.

“I need to move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years and focus on the things I love – my kids and all the opportunities to come in my career, including my upcoming world tour and my new album,” she said in the statement issued by her lawyers.

“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.”

The case centred on how much time the singer spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014.

Spanish authorities alleged Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll – dubbed the Queen of Latin Pop – spent more than half of that period in Spain and therefore should have paid taxes in the country.

They say she moved to Spain after her relationship with former FC Barcelona star defender Gerard Pique became public in 2011, but maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015.

‘Nomadic life’

Shakira’s lawyers argued that until 2014, she was leading a “nomadic life” and earned most of her money from international tours, and that she moved permanently to Barcelona just before the birth of her second son in January 2015.

The singer announced her split from Pique in June 2022 after a decade-long relationship, ending what had been one of the world’s most famous celebrity couples. She moved to Miami in April with their two sons.

Her trial had been expected to run until 14 December, with the court scheduled to hear from nearly 120 witnesses.

Spanish prosecutors had interviewed her neighbours, tracked her images on social networks, checked payments at hairdressers and even the health clinic she attended during her pregnancy to bolster their accusations.

Questions about Shakira’s finances have been raised before.

The Latina superstar was named in one of the largest-ever leaks of financial documents in October 2021, known as the “Pandora Papers”, which revealed the wealth and tax avoidance strategies of the global rich, in her case relating to residence in the Bahamas.

Spain has in recent years cracked down on celebrities like football stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for not paying their full due in taxes.

Both players were found guilty of evasion and received prison sentences that were waived for first-time offenders.

Shakira’s former partner Pique was himself convicted of tax fraud in 2016 and later ordered to pay the tax office €2.1 million.

© AFP 2023

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