Listen to this Article Now
By Helen Bushby
Colombian pop star Shakira has reached a deal with Spanish prosecutors to settle a tax fraud case, just as her trial was about to begin.
The singer has paid a €7.5m (£6.5m) fine – prosecutors had wanted to jail her for eight years and fine her €23.8m (£20.8m) if found guilty.
She had faced tax fraud allegations for €14.5m (£12.7m) in a Barcelona court.
Shakira, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, said she settled “with the best interest of my kids at heart”.
In a lengthy statement, she said her children “do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight”.
The performer had previously rejected a deal offered by prosecutors, instead opting to go to trial.
The case centred around where Shakira was living between 2012 and 2014
“Throughout my career, I have always strived to do what’s right and set a positive example for others,” she said.
“Unfortunately, and despite these efforts, tax authorities in Spain pursued a case against me as they have against many professional athletes and other high-profile individuals, draining those people’s energy, time, and tranquillity for years at a time.
“While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favour, I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight.”
She added she needed to “move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years and focus on the things I love – my kids and all the opportunities to come in my career”.
Dispute over residency
At the centre of this row is Shakira’s residency status between 2012 and 2014, when prosecutors alleged that she was living in Spain but listing her official residence elsewhere.
Under Spanish law, people who spend more than six months in the country are considered residents for tax purposes. But Shakira says Spain was not where she was mainly living at the time.
In July, prosecutors issued a document which claimed that she bought a house in Barcelona in 2012, which became a family home for her and her then-partner, Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué.
Her lawyers have said that up until 2014 most of her income came from international tours and she spent long chunks of time outside of Spain.
“The Spanish tax authorities saw that I was dating a Spanish citizen and started to salivate. It’s clear they wanted to go after that money no matter what”, she told Elle magazine.
Shakira declared Spain to be her place of residence for tax purposes in 2015. She said she has paid €17.2m (£15m) in tax and has no outstanding debts.
In a separate case in 2019, Mr Piqué was fined €2.1m (£1.8m) by the Spanish national court for evading tax between 2008 and 2010.
The couple announced in early June that they had split up after 11 years. They have two sons together, aged seven and nine.
SOURCE: BBC NEWS