Sep 27, 2022 - Economy & Business

Shakira to stand trial for tax fraud in Spain

Shakira performing

Photo: imone Joyner/Getty Images

Colombian pop star Shakira is set to face trial in Spain for alleged tax fraud after a Spanish judge on Tuesday formally ordered the singer to stand trial, the AP reported.

Driving the news: Prosecutors allege that the singer failed to pay 14.5 million euros (around $13.9 million) in income taxes between 2012 and 2014.

The other side: Shakira has denied all allegations of wrongdoing and rejected a proposed plea deal in July, after which prosecutors unveiled six charges of tax fraud against her, per the Post.

  • Her publicists claimed in July that the singer had already repaid the amount she owed along with 3 million euros in interest, AP reported.

State of play: The crux of the case rests on whether or not Shakira resided in Spain during the period in question.

  • Shakira claims that her formal tax residency was in the Bahamas until 2015, but prosecutors maintain she spent more than 200 days of each of those years in Spain — making her eligible to pay taxes, since Spanish law dictates that people who spend more than 184 days of a year in the country should pay tax, per the Post.
  • A date for the trial has not yet been set.

What they're saying: Shakira addressed the allegations in a magazine profile published last week in which she said she had decided to fight the allegations "because I have to fight for what I believe; because these are false accusations."

  • "I didn’t spend 183 days per year at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world. Second, I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So as of today, I owe zero to them," she added.

The big picture: Spain has been cracking down on public figures for alleged tax fraud in the past few years, with soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Luka Modrić all paying fines and settlements in the past few years after becoming entangled in tax ordeals.

  • In the U.S., American singer Lauryn Hill was sentenced to three months in prison in 2013 for failing to pay taxes on about $1.8 million of income between between 2005 and 2007.
  • In 2012, the IRS issued a tax lien to singer Lionel Richie for about $1.1 million in unpaid taxes from 2010.
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