Shakira ordered to stand trial for tax fraud in Spain

After years of back-and-forth with Spanish authorities, Shakira is headed to trial for alleged tax fraud, a judge in Barcelona has ordered.

The Colombian pop star known for hits like “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Waka Waka” is accused of defrauding the Spanish government between 2012 and 2014 by failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($13.9 million). Spanish prosecutors have claimed they have “sufficient evidence” to prove the singer lived in the country during the three-year period.

Shakira has repeatedly denied the allegations. In a recent interview with Elle magazine, the singer said she did not settle with Spanish authorities because she has evidence proving she did not spend enough days in the country during that period to be considered resident for tax purposes.

She was busy touring the world even while pregnant with her first child, she told the magazine.

“It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities often do this not only with celebrities like me (or [soccer stars Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, [Xabi] Alonso, and many more), it also happens unfairly to the common taxpayer,” Shakira told Elle. “But I am confident that I have enough evidence to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favor.”

Her publicists did not immediately respond to an email from The Washington Post seeking comment.

Shakira risks over 8 years in prison if he is convicted of tax fraud in Spain

In court documents obtained by The Post, Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona) judge Ana Duro Palencia ordered the singer to stand trial on six charges related to tax fraud. The judge has not yet set a court date. In the meantime, Shakira will not face any measures such as house arrest, the judge said in the five-page court document dated Sept. 19.

Spanish prosecutors are demanding more than eight years in prison and a fine of around $24 million for Shakira.

The charges date back to 2018, when Spanish prosecutors first accused the Grammy-winning artist of evading millions in taxes. According to prosecutors, Shakira spent more than 200 days in Spain in each of those years. If a person spends more than 183 days in the country in a year they are considered Spanish residents for tax purposes, the country’s law states. The singer claimed the Bahamas as her tax residence until 2015, when she moved to Barcelona with FC Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué, her partner at the time. They have two children together and recently ended their 11-year relationship.

Last year, a judge concluded that prosecutors had gathered enough evidence to bring the tax fraud charges to trial. In July, after weeks of negotiations, the singer rejected a settlement offer from Spanish prosecutors, El País reported.

Shakira told Elle magazine that she rejected the proposal because she has evidence to back up her claims, adding that going to court is a “matter of principle.”

The singer’s PR team in Spain said she repaid the amount she owed to Spain’s tax agency as soon as she was notified, plus about 3 million euros (nearly $2.9 million) in interest, El País reported.

Shakira’s name, along with that of other celebrities, appeared in two large caches of leaked financial documents: the Paradise Papers in 2017 and the Pandora Papers in 2021.

Amy Cheng contributed to this report.

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