A judge in Barcelona on Tuesday approved a trial for Colombian pop singer Shakira on charges of tax fraud.
Spanish prosecutors accused the entertainer in 2018 of failing to pay €14.5 million in taxes on income earned between 2012 and 2014. As reported at the end of July, prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison sentence and a hefty fine if she is found guilty of tax evasion.
Shakira, 45, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and rejected a deal with authorities to avoid going to trial. Her public relations firm has said that she has already paid all that she owed, including an additional €3 million in interest.
The singer has slammed the ‘complete violation of her rights’ and ‘abusive methods’ by the prosecutors and has said they were insisting on claiming money earned during her international tours and the show The Voice, on which she was a judge in the United States, when she was ‘not yet resident in Spain’.
However, the court based in the town of Esplugues de Llobregat near Barcelona has confirmed that Shakira will face six counts of tax fraud. The date for the trial has yet to be set.
The case hinges on where Shakira lived during 2012-14. Prosecutors in Barcelona have alleged the Grammy winner spent more than half of that period in Spain and should have paid taxes in the country, even though her official residence was in the Bahamas.
Shakira has been linked to Spain since she started dating soccer player Gerard Pique. The couple, who have two children, used to live together in Barcelona but recently ended their 12-year relationship.
Spain has cracked down on soccer stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo over the past decade for not paying their full due in taxes. They were found guilty of evasion but both avoided prison time thanks to a provision that allows a judge to waive sentences under two years in length for first-time offenders.