Spain: Shakira, the Colombian musician, may have to take the stand for charges of fraud after a Spanish judge recommended that there was evidence she could have avoided paying taxes to the government. Reports state that Judge Marco Juberias of the AP wrote his three-year probe led him to conclude that there existed ‘sufficient evidence of criminality’ for the case to go to trial, AP reported. It is possible to appeal the decision.
In 2018, prosecutors charged the Colombian pop musician with failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($16.4 million) in taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014 while she lived in Spain for the majority of the time, despite having an official residence in Panama. During her testimony in June 2019, Shakira refrained from making any such allegations or wrongdoings.
After being informed of the tax debt by the Tax Office, the singer immediately paid what she owed. ‘Shakira has always met her tax responsibilities in every country she has worked in, including between 2011 and 2014.’ Adding that ‘as soon as she was informed of the amount that according to Spain’s Tax Office she should pay… Shakira paid that amount in its entirety,’ their 2019 statement mentioned.
Depending on the outcome of the trial, Shakira may face a possible fine and even jail time if found guilty of tax evasion. The Judge, however, holds the authority to waive prison time for first-time offenders if they have served less than two years in prison.
In earlier claims, the singer asserted that until 2015 her fiscal residence was in the Bahamas, and as such, she should not have had to pay Spanish income tax – commonly referred to as IRPF. Her defence attorneys submitted a report claiming ‘sporadic’ presence in Spain during the three years in question. A Tax Agency investigator refuted this, saying there was evidence of invasion even before the judge overseeing pre-trial proceedings evaluated the case.
According to the prosecutor, Shakira evaded $16.4 million in taxes by concealing her wealth through a network of companies based in tax havens. The tax agency asserts that she lived in Barcelona for all practical purposes. Since 2012, there is no evidence that she spent a single day in the Bahamas.