Latin Grammy-winning singer Shakira recently found herself in a legal battle with Spanish tax authorities, facing charges of defrauding the government of €14.5 million (£12.7 million). The 46-year-old Colombian musician, who lives in Miami with her two children, appeared in Barcelona court on Monday, November 20, where she managed to avoid a potential eight-year jail sentence.
Potential Tax Fraud
According to The Guardian, the charges stem from the belief that Shakira spent more than six months as a Spanish resident between 2012 and 2014, thereby making her liable for taxes. In an effort to prove her residency status, the prosecution summoned 117 witnesses, ranging from hairdressers and studio technicians to dance teachers, therapists, and even her chauffeur.
Shakira Denies Everything
Shakira has countered the allegations, accusing the tax authorities of launching a campaign to tarnish her image and set an example for other Spanish taxpayers. “These are false accusations. First of all, I didn’t spend 183 days per year at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world,” she said.
“Second, I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So, as of today, I owe zero to them,” Shakira added. The popular singer further alleges that the Spanish tax authorities targeted her due to her relationship with a Spanish citizen, claiming that “they wanted to go after that money no matter what.”
“They knew I wasn’t in Spain the required time, that Spain wasn’t my place of work or my source of income, but they still came after me, with their eyes on the prize,” Shakira said in a statement. For a while, rumors suggested that the songstress rejected a plea deal that would spare her from jail time. But things changed during her November 20 court appearance.
A Settlement Reached To Avoid Jail Time
Accepting the charges and a fine of 50 percent of the owed amount, exceeding €7.3 million, Shakira reached a settlement with prosecutors to avoid a trial. She also agreed to an additional fine of €438,000 to evade a potential three-year prison sentence. In a statement, she cited personal and emotional reasons for the decision.
Shakira expressed her readiness to defend her innocence but said she chose to prioritize her career and children over the legal process. “I have reached the conclusion that winning is not a victory if the price is that they rob you of so many years of your life,” she said. The 46-year-old shared an 11-year-long relationship and has two children with former Barcelona and Spain footballer Gerard Pique.
Shakira’s And Gerard Pique Split
The split occurred in 2022 amid allegations of an affair involving Pique. In response, Shakira released a successful “diss” track, proclaiming her value with lyrics like, “I’m worth two 22-year-olds… You swapped a Ferrari for a [Renault] Twingo/You swapped a Rolex for a Casio.” The song set a YouTube record in 24 hours with 63 million views.
A Global Sensation Since The Age Of 13
Shakira rose to international fame with her distinctive blend of Latin, rock, and pop music. Beginning her career with the album Magia at the age of 13, she achieved widespread recognition in Latin America with “Pies Descalzos” in 1995. Her English-language debut, Laundry Service, in 2001, featuring the hit “Whenever, Wherever,” catapulted her to global stardom.
Shakira’s musical success continued with albums like She Wolf in 2009 and El Dorado in 2017, earning her a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album. Adding to her recent achievements, Shakira took home three Latin Grammy awards, including Best Song, at a ceremony held in Seville last week.
Despite personal challenges, the singer continues to make a mark in the music industry, showcasing her resilience and talent. Beyond music, Shakira is recognized for her philanthropy, founding the Pies Descalzos Foundation to support underprivileged children in Colombia.