Shakira is fighting back after being accused of tax fraud by the Spanish Treasury.
The singer issued a statement on November 25, 2022, slamming Spanish authorities and accusing them of “persecuting” her and using “unacceptable methods” in their investigation.
Her statement came as her trial looms on the horizon, in which she will attempt to prove her innocence after being accused of tax fraud. However, she could face up to eight years in prison if not proven innocent.
In her statement, Shakira confirmed that she has no intention to settle or make any agreements and will be going to trial to prove her innocence. She also accused the Spanish authorities of launching a smear campaign against her.
She alleged they had damaged her reputation by refusing to believe her about how much time she spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014. Furthermore, Shakira accused the authorities of using questionable methods to build their case against her.
These methods allegedly included probing hospitals where she had appointments for private data. Meanwhile, she alleged that the whole tax fraud case is a “contrived story.”
She finished her scathing statement by stating, “In my case, they [Spanish authorities] have violated my right to privacy and the presumption of innocence, basic rights of any citizen.”
Why was Shakira accused of tax fraud?
Spanish authorities took an interest in Shakira after the Paradise Papers investigation was launched. The legal documents probed the financial actions of several celebrities, including Shakira.
The papers revealed that Shakira had transferred $35 million in music rights and assets to a company based in Malta, of which she is the sole shareholder. Her attorneys have reiterated that this was legal, but it still raised eyebrows as the use of offshore entities to manage business and assets is a common tactic used by the wealthy to evade taxation.
Shortly after these documents were published, Spanish authorities began investigating Shakira. They noted that the singer didn’t register as a full-time tax resident of the country until 2015.
However, she had started dating Gerard Piqué five years earlier and moved with him to Barcelona in 2012. Despite this, she continued to list the Bahamas as her tax residency and paid no taxes in Spain for three years.
In Spain, any individual who spends over 183 days in the country is considered a Spanish resident. Shakira argued, though, that she had not spent that many days in Spain in any given year between 2012 and 2015.
Spanish authorities began investigating her social media and visiting her favorite spots around Barcelona. They claim that she spent over 200 days in the country per year between 2012 and 2013.
When is Shakira’s trial?
After the findings of the investigation, Shakira was indicted on six counts of tax fraud. Prosecutors allege that she owes over $14 million worth of taxes.
Shakira, though, decided to fight the charges. She refused to accept the terms of a settlement, opting to go to court instead.
Her legal team has backed her decision and indicated that she refused to accept the settlement because she is innocent. They displayed confidence that the Spanish authorities had no evidence against Shakira.
They stated, “Shakira is a taxpayer who has always shown impeccable tax conduct and has never had tax problems in any other jurisdiction.” They continued to explain that she never “exceeded the 183” days of residency in Spain and followed top tax advisors’ advice while filing taxes.
The trial will take place in a Barcelona court, but the date has not yet been set for it. If found guilty, she could face eight years in prison and over $20 million in fines.