Just before her trial was about to start, Colombian pop artist Shakira struck a settlement with Spanish authorities to resolve a tax fraud case.
The Hips Don’t Lie singer was scheduled to appear in court in Barcelona to answer to tax fraud charges totaling €14.5 million (£12.9 million).
If proven guilty, Spanish prosecutors had sought an eight-year prison sentence and a €23.8 million fine for the singer.
Shakira reached a settlement “with the best interest of my kids at heart,” despite her continuous denials of any wrongdoing.
She stated that they “do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight” .
The artist had earlier chosen to go with a trial over a plea bargain that the prosecutors had offered.
Her statement in full read:
“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 advisors 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.
“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.”
Conflict about residency
Shakira’s residency status between 2012 and 2014, when prosecutors said she was residing in Spain but had her official residence listed somewhere else, is at the center of this dispute.
For tax purposes, anyone who stays in Spain for more than six months is considered a resident, according to Spanish law. Shakira, however, claims that Spain was not her primary residence at the time.
Prosecutors released a document in July claiming she purchased a home in Barcelona in 2012, which she and her then-partner, Barcelona football player Gerard Piqué, used as their family residence.
According to her attorneys, she made the most of her money from foreign tours up until 2014 and traveled outside of Spain frequently.
“When the Spanish tax authorities learned that I was seeing a Spanish national, they became really excited. She told Elle magazine, “It’s obvious they wanted to pursue that money no matter what.”
For taxation purposes, Shakira declared Spain to be her place of residence in 2015. She claimed to have no outstanding obligations and to have paid €17.2 million in taxes.
In a different case, the Spanish national court penalized Mr. Piqué €2.1 million in 2019 for tax evasion from 2008 to 2010.
Early in June, the couple declared their separation following an 11-year marriage. Together, they are parents to two boys, ages seven and nine.