A Spanish judge investigating alleged tax fraud by the Colombian pop star Shakira recommended on Thursday that the case should go to trial, concluding that there is enough evidence the singer could have avoided her fiscal obligations to the state.
The magistrate in Esplugues de Llobregat, near Barcelona, Marco Juberías, wrote that his three-year investigation found there existed ‘sufficient evidence of criminality’ for the case to go to a trial judge. The decision can be appealed.
Prosecutors charged the singer in December 2019 with not paying 14.5 million euros in taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014, when she lived mostly in the country despite having an official residence in Panama. Prosecutors and the tax agency consider that Shakira devised a network of companies in tax havens around the world to evade taxes, while also spending more than half of the year in Spain as the partner of Barça footballer Gerard Piqué.
Shakira, 44, denied any wrongdoing when she testified in June 2019. Her public relations firm said that she had immediately paid what she owed once she was informed of the debt by the Spanish Tax Office.
Shakira faces a possible fine and even possible jail time if found guilty of tax evasion. However, a judge can waive prison time for first-time offenders if they are sentenced to less than two years behind bars.