Tuesday, a Spanish judge gave the all-ahead for Shakira, a Colombian pop singer, to go on trial for tax fraud. The artist was charged in 2018 by Spanish authorities with failing to pay 13.9 million euros ($14.5 million) in taxes on income generated between 2012 and 2014. If she is found guilty of tax evasion, prosecutors want to sentence her to eight years in prison and to pay a large fine.
The 45-year-old Shakira has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and rejected a plea agreement with the government to avoid going to trial. According to her PR firm, she has already paid off all of her debts as well as an additional 3 million euros ($2.8 million) in interest.
Shakira will be charged with six charges of tax fraud, according to the court located in Esplugues de Llobregat, a town close to Barcelona. The trial’s start time has not yet been determined. The argument depends on Shakira’s residences between 2012 and 2014. Although her official residency was in the Bahamas, Barcelona prosecutors claim that the Grammy winner spent more than half of that time in Spain and should have paid taxes there.
Since she began dating soccer player Gerard Pique, Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has been associated with Spain. The two-parent family, who formerly shared a home in Barcelona, recently called it quits after an 11-year union.
Over the past ten years, Spain has cracked down on soccer players who don’t pay their fair share of taxes, including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite being found guilty of evasion, they were both spared prison time because of a rule that permits judges to suspend sentences for first-time offenders that are shorter than two years.
Soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Luka Modri have all paid fines and settlements in recent years after becoming embroiled in tax disputes as a result of Spain’s recent crackdown on prominent personalities for alleged tax fraud.