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Shakira charged with fresh $7 million tax fraud, faces jail term

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Colombian pop sensation Shakira finds herself in hot water with the Spanish authorities once again, facing a fresh set of tax evasion charges.

This marks the second time the Spanish government has accused the star of financial misconduct, alleging that she defrauded the state of a substantial €6.7 million ($7.1 million, £5.8 million) in 2018.

The crux of the matter revolves around Shakira’s alleged failure to declare substantial sums, including advance payments related to her El Dorado World Tour and various other financial transactions.

While the second investigation into these allegations was initiated in July 2023, the details have only recently surfaced.

As per reports from the Spanish network RTVE, Shakira is aware of these new charges. However, her legal team, based in Miami, where she currently resides, is occupied with preparations for the impending trial related to her alleged tax misdeeds from 2012 to 2014, scheduled to commence on November 20.

So they have not been briefed on the recent development.

The fresh allegations stem from Shakira’s residency status in 2018 when she was residing in Barcelona with her partner, football star Gerard Pique.

Spanish authorities contend that during this time, she was obligated to declare and pay taxes on all her international earnings within the country.

Instead, they claim she funnelled her money through companies situated in low-tax, high-opacity jurisdictions.

Shakira is gearing up for a significant legal battle, facing a total of six separate tax crime charges in Barcelona this November.

Throughout this ordeal, she has consistently denied any wrongdoing, expressing her confidence in the evidence supporting her case and her belief that justice will ultimately be in her favour, as she stated in a September interview with the Spanish edition of Elle magazine.

It’s worth mentioning that Shakira has previously faced tax evasion charges related to her time in Spain between 2012 and 2014, during which she was accused of owing the Spanish government a hefty $15.4 million in unpaid taxes.

She countered these allegations by asserting that her official residence was in the Bahamas, which, if true, would exempt her from the Spanish tax obligations.

Representatives for the pop star have maintained her innocence, highlighting her cooperation with the law and her adherence to advice from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, a reputable tax firm.

As Shakira opted not to accept a plea deal, prosecutors are pushing forward with the trial, seeking a substantial eight-year and two-month prison sentence in addition to a sizable fine of approximately $25 million.

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (Shakira) has been closely associated with Spain since her relationship with retired soccer player Gerard Piqué, with whom she has two children. However, the couple ended their 11-year partnership in 2022.

In the background of this tax saga, Spain employs three key factors to determine an individual’s residency status and tax obligations: physical presence, the location of a spouse and children, and whether the country is considered the person’s “centre of economic interest.”

Shakira and Piqué were together for over a decade before their separation in 2022, sharing two children who now reside with Shakira in Miami.

The first tax-related trial is slated for November 20, and if convicted, Shakira could potentially face prison time, though Spanish law provides a provision allowing first-time tax evaders to avoid incarceration if their imposed sentence is less than two years.

Shakira, originally from Barranquilla, Colombia, holds the distinction of being Colombia’s highest-selling artist of all time.

Her wealth has grown substantially through various partnerships, including collaborations with brands like Fisher Price, Proctor & Gamble’s 3D White, Activia yoghurt, and Brazilian shoe brand Ipanema.

Additionally, she served as a judge on NBC’s popular show, “The Voice.”

 

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