Shakira Ordered to Stand Trial in Spain For Alleged Tax Fraud

Shakira Ordered to Stand Trial in Spain For Alleged Tax Fraud

Shakira is being forced to take the stand.

On Tuesday, September 27, the Colombian pop star was ordered to stand trial by a Spanish judge on six counts of alleged tax fraud. According to the Associated Press, prosecutors in Barcelona have accused Shakira of failing to pay $13.9 million in income taxes between 2012 and 2014. If she's found guilty, the "Hips Don't Lie" singer potentially faces an eight-year prison sentence and a large fine amounting to $23,156,805.

Suspicions surrounding the musician's potential tax evasion first emerged in November 2017 after a series of documents related to offshore investments were leaked, per a comprehensive timeline of the case compiled by Us Weekly. Known as the Paradise Papers, the report stated that Shakira's “musical assets, intellectual property rights and trademarks” were being held by a company in Malta, which is widely considered a tax haven.

Prosecutors also claimed that during the two-year period in question, the singer was living in the Catalonia region of Spain for over half that time after buying a house in Barcelona in 2012 while dating ex-boyfriend, Gerard Piqué. However, they said she never paid taxes to Spain — despite Spanish law considering any individual residing in the country for over six months as a resident — as she listed her official residence as the Bahamas. Formal charges were brought against her in December 2018, though Shakira's attorneys said that she spent a large portion of her time outside of Spain and that the majority of her income was from international tours. The star also previously rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors.

That said, the Grammy winner responded to the allegations in a recent interview with Elle, where she accused Spanish authorities of trying to use her as an example. Shakira also compared her situation to similar cases brought against fellow celebrities like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, both of whom were found guilty of evasion. Even so, neither man served prison time due to Spanish law allowing a judge to waive a sentence under two years for first-time offenders.

“I didn’t spend 183 days per year [in Spain] at that time at all,” Shakira said. “I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world. Second, I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So, as of today, I owe zero to them.”

"I am confident that I have enough proof to support my case," she added, "And that justice will prevail in my favor."

No trial date has been scheduled. In the meantime though, you can read about the full details of Shakira's case via Us Weekly.

Photo via Getty / J. Countess