Shakira in the dock in Spanish tax fraud case

Colombian superstar Shakira will go on trial in Barcelona on Monday in a tax fraud case, with Spanish prosecutors seeking a prison sentence of more than eight years for the Grammy-winning singer.

They accused the 46-year-old singer of defrauding the Spanish state of 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014. The singer has denied the allegations and said she only moved to Spain full-time in 2015. Went.

The case centers on how much time the singer, whose hit singles include “Hips Don’t Lie”, “Wherever, Wherever” and the 2010 World Cup song “Waka Waka”, spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014.

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

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

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In their indictment, prosecutors claim that Shakira used a group of companies based in tax havens with the intention of avoiding paying taxes in Spain.

Prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of eight years and two months for the singer and a fine of about 24 million euros ($24 million).

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

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The singer said in an interview published in Elle magazine in 2022, “I already paid off everything they claimed I owed before they even filed the lawsuit. So, as of today, I don’t owe them anything “

Shakira announced her separation from Pique in June 2022 after a decade-long relationship, ending one of the world’s most famous celebrity couples. She moved to Miami with her two sons, Milan and Sasha, in April.

His high-profile trial is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (0900 GMT) in a Barcelona court. It is expected to last till December 14, with the court hearing from around 120 witnesses.

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While the singer is expected to present her side in the initial session of the trial, she may request permission from the court to skip the remaining hearing.

Details of his personal life are likely to emerge during the proceedings as Spanish prosecutors conduct a careful investigation to prove their case.

They interviewed her neighbors to prove their allegations, tracked her images on social networks, investigated payments to the hairdresser and even the health clinic she visited during her pregnancy.

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Questions have been raised before about Shakira’s financial condition.

The Latina superstar was named in October 2021 in one of the largest-ever leaks of financial documents, known as the “Pandora Papers”, which exposed the assets of a global fortune related to her residence in the Bahamas. And tax avoidance strategies were exposed. ,

Spain has in recent years cracked down on celebrities such as soccer stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for not paying taxes in full.

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

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

The singer won three awards at the Latin Grammy Awards in Seville, southern Spain, on Thursday, including song of the year and best pop song for her collaboration with Argentinian DJ Bizarrap on “BJRP Music Sessions, Vol. 53.”

The track takes a dig at her former partner Pick and also includes a reference to having a “debt to the tax office”. It has been played approximately 1.5 billion times on Spotify and YouTube.


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