Colombian singer Shakira has agreed to pay a fine of $8 million (€7.3 million) on top of a $18.5 million (€17 million) tax bill to avoid a three-year prison term over financial fraud allegations related to her tax evasion case.
The singer’s trial was expected to run until December, but she noted that she had to come to terms with the deal because she wanted to spare her children from seeing her on trial.
Shakira Was Accused Of Tax Evasion
The “Hips Don’t Lie” singer was accused of evading taxes in Spain by claiming that she lived in the Bahamas, despite allegedly spending most of her time in Barcelona with her partner, footballer Gerard Piqué.
According to the Daily Mail, Spanish authorities alleged that Shakira was supposed to have paid taxes in the country between 2012 and 2014 because she spent more than half of that period in Spain. However, she ended up using “a set of companies” based in tax havens “with the intention of not paying” tax in Spain.
The singer’s legal team argued that she was not a tax resident in Spain until 2015, just before she had her second son, and had not spent more than 60 days a year in the country during the period in question. They claimed that she was living a “nomadic life” away from Barcelona and would have needed to spend half the year in Spain to be considered a fiscal resident.
The Singer Reached A Deal To Avoid Prison
After months of negotiations and court dates, Shakira has now agreed to pay a hefty fine in addition to paying the tax she was alleged to have owed the Spanish state, per the Daily Mail.
According to the news outlet, she was sentenced to three years in prison, six months for each of the six tax frauds she admitted to.
However, she was also given the option of a $8 million fine in a deal that would prevent her from going to jail. The 46-year-old is also said to have paid the tax she owed, which was approximately $$18.5 million plus interest, and will have to pay a fine of $472,000 (€432,000) to avoid prison.
Shakira arrived at the Barcelona courthouse Monday morning in what would have been a lengthy trial that was expected to run till December but quickly told the presiding judge that she had accepted the agreement reached with prosecutors.
Shakira Maintains Her Innocence
In a statement released by her representative after the deal was reached, the “Waka Waka” hitmaker insisted that she was innocent of the allegations and only agreed to the deal because she wanted to spare her children the emotional turmoil.
“While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favor, 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,” Shakira’s statement read in part, per the Daily Mail.
She added, “I need 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, including my upcoming world tour and my new album, both of which I am extremely excited about. I admire tremendously those who have fought these injustices to the end, but for me, today, winning is getting my time back for my kids and my career.”
Shakira Slams Spanish Authorities For ‘Pursuing’ Her
Elsewhere in her statement via her representative, the Queen of Latin pop slammed the Spanish authorities for “pursuing” her despite her effort to maintain good business practices and caution in getting the best financial counsel. She noted that she had “always strived to do what’s right” and be an exemplary model to others.
“That often means taking the extra step in business and personal financial decisions to procure the absolute best counsel,” she continued, adding that she had sought the advice of the “world’s preeminent tax authorities, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited and Ernst & Young Global Limited, who have been my advisers during this whole process.”
The singer stated: “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.”