Shakira’s Legal Turnaround: Pop Icon Settles Tax Fraud Case with Plea, Dodges Trial in Barcelona

BARCELONA, Spain — International pop star Shakira has reached a plea agreement in her tax fraud case, thereby avoiding the risk of imprisonment as her trial was set to commence in Barcelona on Monday. The singer, who has been asserting her innocence for nearly five years, accepted the terms of the deal on the trial’s opening day.

Under the agreement, Shakira will face a suspended three-year sentence and is ordered to pay a fine of 7 million euros (approximately $7.6 million). This development comes as a resolution to the accusations that she failed to pay the Spanish government 14.5 million euros (about $15.8 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.

Initially, prosecutors sought a much harsher sentence of eight years and two months in prison, along with a 24 million euros ($26 million) fine. The trial, expected to feature over 100 witnesses, was concluded abruptly after just eight minutes following Shakira’s acceptance of the deal.

The case primarily focused on Shakira’s residency during the said period. Spanish prosecutors contended that the Colombian artist spent significant time in Spain, necessitating her to pay taxes on her global income in the country, despite her official residence being in the Bahamas, where tax rates are notably lower. Shakira’s defense, however, argued that she did not spend sufficient time in Spain to be considered a fiscal resident.

The defense team, Molins Defensa Penal, had previously stated that Shakira had already settled her due taxes along with an additional 3 million euros in interest. In November 2022, they claimed that Shakira had not stayed in Spain for more than 60 days a year during the relevant timeframe, citing her global tour commitments and participation in the NBC show “The Voice” in the United States.

Shakira’s decision to accept the deal marks a significant turn in the case, which had garnered considerable attention following her inclusion in the “Paradise Papers” leaks. The leaks exposed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous high-profile individuals.

In a separate case, Spanish prosecutors have also charged Shakira with alleged evasion of 6.7 million euros in taxes for her 2018 income.

Shakira, full name Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, is known for her extensive music career spanning various genres in both Spanish and English. She shares two children with Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué, from whom she separated last year after an 11-year relationship. Shakira currently resides in Miami.

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