Colombian singer Shakira has reached a settlement in her tax fraud case with Spanish prosecutors, avoiding a trial that was set to begin on Monday. The 46-year-old superstar has agreed to a three-year suspended sentence and will pay 7.3 million euros ($7.98 million) in fines.
The charges against Shakira alleged that she defrauded the Spanish state of 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014. The singer, known for hits like “Whenever, Wherever” and the 2010 World Cup song “Waka Waka,” had consistently denied the charges, asserting that she only became a full-time resident of Spain in 2015.
In a statement issued by her lawyers, Shakira expressed her decision 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.
The case revolved around the amount of time Shakira spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors argued that she spent more than half of that period in the country and should have paid taxes there. Shakira’s defense maintained that she led a “nomadic life” until 2014, earning most of her income from international tours, and permanently moved to Barcelona in 2015.
The settlement comes after the singer’s recent split from former FC Barcelona star Gerard Pique. Shakira, named in the “Pandora Papers” leak in October 2021, revealing financial details of the global rich, had faced a trial that was scheduled to run until December 14, with nearly 120 witnesses expected to testify.
Spanish authorities had conducted thorough investigations, including interviews with neighbors, tracking social media images, and checking payments at various establishments, to support their accusations.
The tax fraud case against Shakira follows Spain’s recent crackdown on celebrities, including football stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, for not fulfilling their tax obligations. Both Messi and Ronaldo were found guilty of tax evasion, receiving prison sentences that were ultimately waived for first-time offenders.
Shakira’s former partner, Gerard Pique, faced a similar fate, being convicted of tax fraud in 2016 and ordered to pay 2.1 million euros to the tax office.
Despite the legal challenges, Shakira received three awards at the recent Latin Grammy Awards, underscoring her continued success in the music industry. The settlement allows her to shift her focus to her family and forthcoming career opportunities.
The resolution of Shakira’s tax case marks a turning point in a legal saga that has spanned several years, allowing the artist to redirect her energy towards personal and professional pursuits.
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