Colombian singer Shakira has reached a deal with authorities in Spain to avoid a £12.5 million tax fraud trial.
The global superstar arrived at a Barcelona courthouse on Monday to attend the first day of her trial for allegedly defrauding the Spanish state of 14.5 million euros (£12.5 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014.
Wearing a pink suit and sunglasses, the 46-year-old entered the building just before 10:00 am (0900 GMT) without speaking to the throng of reporters who were waiting for her arrival, according to an AFP news agency journalist at the scene.
But it was quickly announced that she had reached a settlement, with Shakira (full name Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll) saying she made the decision to ‘spare my children seeing their mother sacrifice her well-being’. Shakira told the presiding judge that she had accepted the agreement reached with prosecutors.
‘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,’ she said.
But in her statement, she also blasted the Spanish authorities for pursuing her, saying her case was similar to others which have seen authorities go after ‘athletes and other high-profile individuals’. Such cases, she said, drain ‘those people’s energy, time, and tranquillity for years at a time.’
As part of the deal that puts an end to the trial, prosecution changed jail time for the singer with fines, the judge said during the trial’s first hearing.
Colombian singer Shakira has reached a deal with authorities in Spain to avoid a £12.5 million tax fraud trial
In a statement released by her representatives, the singer said: ‘Throughout my career, I have always strived to do what’s right and set a positive example for others.
‘That often means taking the extra step in business and personal financial decisions to procure the absolute best counsel, including seeking the advice of the world’s preeminent tax authorities PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited and Ernst & Young Global Limited who have been my advisers during this whole 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 tranquillity for years at a time.
‘While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favour, I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight,’ she added.
‘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.’
The case was set to centre on how much time the singer, whose hit singles include ‘Hips Don’t Lie’, ‘Whenever, Wherever’ and the 2010 World Cup song ‘Waka Waka’, spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014.
Spanish authorities alleged Shakira – dubbed the Queen of Latin Pop – spent more than half of that period in Spain and therefore should have paid taxes in the country.
They said she moved to Spain after her relationship with former FC Barcelona star defender Gerard Pique became public in 2011, but maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015.
In its indictment, the prosecution claimed Shakira ‘used a set of companies’ based in tax havens ‘with the intention of not paying’ tax in Spain.
Prosecutors were seeking a jail term of eight years and two months, and a fine of nearly 24 million euros ($24 million dollars) for the singer.
However, the settlement has changed the jail time to fines.
Shakira’s lawyers said that until 2014, she was leading a ‘nomadic life’ and earned most of her money from international tours, and that she moved permanently to Barcelona just before the birth of her second son in January 2015.
Wearing a pink suit and sunglasses, the 46-year-old entered the courthouse in Barcelona just before 10:00 am (0900 GMT) without speaking to the throng of reporters who were waiting for her arrival, according to an AFP news agency journalist at the scene
Members of the media gather outside the Audiencia de Barcelona to cover the trial of Shakira for alleged tax fraud, on November 20
‘I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So, as of today, I owe zero to them,’ she told Elle magazine in 2022.
Shakira announced her split from Pique in June 2022 after a decade-long relationship, ending what had been one of the world’s most famous celebrity couples. She moved to Miami in April with their two sons, Milan and Sasha.
Her high-profile trial was expected to run until December 14, with the court scheduled to hear from nearly 120 witnesses.
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