Just a few days after nabbing multiple awards at the Latin Grammys, Colombian pop megastar Shakira is expected to go on trial in Barcelona on Monday for allegedly cheating Spain’s tax office out of €14.5 million ($26.4m).
The popstar is facing eight years and two months in prison, and a f ine of nearly €24m, reports news.com.au.
The Hips Don’t Lie singer, who now lives in Miami with her two sons Milan and Sasha, has denied any wrongdoing and rejected a plea deal with prosecutors. The trial is set to get underway on Monday morning in Barcelona.
The court case has been built around where the singer, whose hit songs include Whenever, Wherever and the 2010 World Cup song Waka Waka, lived between 2012 and 2014.
Prosecutors claim that Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll — commonly known as the Queen of Latin Pop — spent more than half of that time in Spain and should have, therefore, paid taxes in the country.
They have alleged that she immigrated to Spain after going public with her relationship in 2011 with FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, however, she maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas up until 2015.
Shakira, Gerard Pique and their two sons. Photo / Getty Images
The prosecution says in its indictment that the pop star “used a set of companies” set up in tax havens “with the intention of not paying” tax in Spain.
Shakira’s attorneys maintain that until 2014, the singer was living a “nomadic life” and earned most of her money from international tours. They further claim that she only moved permanently to Barcelona just prior to the birth of her second son at the beginning of 2015.
The high-profile trial is set to hear statements from roughly 120 witnesses and will run until December 14.
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While Shakira is set to testify during the opening session of the trial, she may request permission from the court to not be present at the rest of the hearings.
Even without her presence in court, details of her private life will likely come to light during the court proceedings, seeing Spanish prosecutors carried out a detailed investigation into the pop star’s life.
Prosecutors have interviewed her neighbours, sorted through her pictures on social media, checked her payments at hairdressers and even the health clinic she attended during her pregnancy to prove their claims.
This isn’t the first time eyebrows have been raised about the singer’s finances. Shakira was named in the 2021 “Pandora Papers” leaks, which exposed the wealth and tax avoidance strategies of the global elite, in her case relating to her residence in the Bahamas.
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