Shakira reaches deal with authorities to avoid €14.5m tax fraud trial in Spain

November 20, 2023

Pop star Shakira has reached a deal with tax authorities in Spain, avoiding a €14.5m trial on the morning it was due to begin.

The Colombian pop star attended court on Monday and agreed to pay a fine of €7m (£6.1m). She waved and blew a kiss to bystanders as she walked in ahead of the short hearing.

After answering "yes" to confirm acknowledgement of failing to pay the Spanish government taxes, she also received a suspended three-year sentence, the AP news agency reported.

In a statement sent to Sky News, Shakira said she had "always strived to do what's right and set a positive example for others" but now wants to "move past the stress".

The agreement means a trial which had been due to include dozens of witnesses, and was expected to last several weeks, has now been called off - and prosecutors have dropped their demand for the star to be jailed for eight years.

The Hips Don't Lie singer said her lawyers had been "confident" the court would have ruled in her favour following a trial.

However, she said she took the decision to resolve the matter beforehand "with the best interest of my kids at heart, who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal wellbeing in this fight".

Shakira, 46, has two sons with her ex-partner, footballer Gerard Pique.

She had faced six counts of failing to pay the Spanish government €14.5m (about £12.7m) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.

The case centred around where she was living at the time, and she had denied any wrongdoing. Her defence team had argued she had not spent more than 60 days a year in Spain during the period in question and so should not have been considered a fiscal resident.

'Winning is getting my time back'

In her statement, Shakira said she had sought "the advice of the world's preeminent tax authorities PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited and Ernst & Young Global Limited", her advisers throughout the process.

"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 tranquility for years at a time," she said.

"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."

Spain has cracked down on football stars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for tax offences in the last decade.

The former Barcelona and Real Madrid stars were found guilty of evasion but both avoided jail after their sentences were suspended.

From Grammy wins to court

Shakira's deal comes after the star was named one of the big winners at the Latin Grammys at the weekend, taking home three awards.

She was presented with one award by Sergio Ramos, former Spanish international teammate of Pique and defender for Real Madrid, rivals of Pique's former club Barcelona.

Prosecutors announced in September that Shakira would also face separate charges of €6.7m tax evasion in Spain, relating to a period in 2018. Sky News understands this case is still ongoing but her lawyers are confident of a resolution.

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