Colombian superstar Shakira is facing a high-profile trial in Barcelona, as Spanish prosecutors seek a jail term of over eight years for alleged tax fraud. The 46-year-old singer is accused of defrauding the Spanish state of 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014, a charge she vehemently denies. Shakira, known for hit singles like “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever”, insists that she only moved to Spain full time in 2015.
The crux of the case revolves around how much time Shakira spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014. Spanish authorities allege that she spent more than half of that period in the country and should have paid taxes accordingly. They claim that she used a network of companies based in tax havens with the intention of evading tax in Spain.
Prosecutors are seeking a jail term of eight years and two months, as well as a hefty fine for the singer. However, Shakira’s legal team argues that until 2014, she led a “nomadic life” and earned most of her income from international tours. They maintain that she moved permanently to Barcelona just before the birth of her second son in January 2015.
The trial is expected to run until December 14, with the court scheduled to hear from nearly 120 witnesses. While Shakira is expected to take the stand on the opening session, she may request permission from the court to not be present at the remaining hearings. Details of her private life are likely to emerge during the proceedings, as Spanish prosecutors conducted a thorough investigation, including interviews with her neighbors and tracking her activities on social media.
This is not the first time questions about Shakira’s finances have been raised. She was named in the “Pandora Papers”, one of the largest-ever leaks of financial documents, which revealed the wealth and tax avoidance strategies of the global rich. Spain has also cracked down on other celebrities for tax evasion, including football stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Shakira’s former partner, Gerard Pique, was himself convicted of tax fraud in 2016. The singer announced her split from Pique in June 2022 after a decade-long relationship, and she has since moved to Miami with their two sons. Despite the legal troubles, Shakira recently picked up three awards at the Latin Grammy Awards, showcasing her continued success in the music industry.
The trial is set to be a high-profile affair, shedding light on the intricacies of Shakira’s financial and personal life. As the case unfolds, it is likely to captivate both her fans and the public at large, offering a glimpse into the complexities of fame and fortune.