Shakira has accused the Spanish government of trying to ‘coerce’ her into a settlement as she prepares for a legal battle over allegations of tax evasion.
The ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ singer, 45, has been charged with failing to pay taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014, prompting prosecutors to ask Colombian-born Shakira to face a an eight-year prison sentence and several prison terms. fine of one million euros.
Spanish authorities have alleged that Shakira owes 14.5 million euros (about $14.7 million) in unpaid taxes. The star replied that she had legal residence in the Bahamas, which has no income tax, during the period in question.
Prosecutors said the singer was living in Barcelona because of her relationship with FC Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, with whom she has two sons. The couple announced their separation in June.
While a trial date has yet to be announced and no details of the deal prosecutors offered Shakira have been shared, the musician has spoken out against Spanish authorities in an interview with She.
When asked why she chose to fight instead of settling down, Shakira replied, “Because I have to fight for what I believe in, because those are false accusations. First of all, I didn’t spend 183 days a year at all at that time. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world.
“Second, I paid everything they claimed I owed, before they even took legal action. So, to this day, I owe them nothing. And finally, I was advised by one of the four largest tax firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers, so I was confident that I was doing things right and transparently from day one. »
She continued: “However, even without evidence to support these fictitious claims, as they usually do, they resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to influence people and pressure in the media with the threat of reputational damage in order to impose settlement agreements.
“It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities often do this not only with celebrities like me (or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, [Xabi] Alonso, and many others), it also happens unfairly to the ordinary taxpayer. It’s just their style. But I am confident that I have enough evidence to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favor. »
The star has shared details of how she says her busy schedule wouldn’t have allowed her to spend six months in Spain.
“While Gerard and I were dating, I was on a world tour,” she said. “I spent over 240 days outside of Spain so there was no way I could qualify as a resident. The Spanish tax authorities saw that I was dating a Spanish citizen and started salivating. Clearly they wanted to get that money, no matter what.
“Even for the next few years, I was traveling around the world, working non-stop during my pregnancy or with Milan as a baby, when my caesarean had just closed. They knew I wasn’t in Spain for the required time, that Spain wasn’t my place of work or my source of income, but they came after me anyway, with their eyes on the prize. »
A spokesperson for Shakira says the musician will fight for a full acquittal after rejecting a plea deal, telling the British newspaper Subway in July: “Unfortunately, the Spanish tax authorities, which lose one out of two lawsuits with their taxpayers, continue to violate their rights and pursue yet another baseless case. Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the legal process to deal with. »
In October 2021, it was revealed that Shakira was to be reimbursed by the Spanish Treasury, following a court order regarding her tax dispute.
While it wasn’t clear how much money Shakira was to be repaid, or when the decision was made, reps for the star said Newsweek that it would be reimbursed for “a series of surcharges that the tax authorities wrongly levied”.
“Given the disagreement with the collection, Shakira’s defense filed a supplemental statement which was resolved by the courts, ruling in her favor and requiring the Tax Agency to return the amounts she was unfairly forced to pay.” , we read in a press release shared with Newsweek.
“Shakira’s legal team reiterates its full confidence in the justice system,” the statement continued. “This is an example of the fact that, more often than it seems, the courts go against the criteria of the administration, even going so far as to annul the regulations wrongly made by the tax administration. . »
Newsweek contacted the Spanish Treasury for comments.