Pop superstar Shakira will be put on trial in Spain for alleged tax fraud after a judge approved the motion by prosecutors.
According to reports, a judge in the town of Esplugues de Llobregat formally confirmed that the trial can proceed on Tuesday, (Sept. 27). The singer, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, is facing six counts of tax fraud. Authorities have accused her of failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($13.9 million) in taxes on income earned between 2012 to 2014, a time that the 45-year-old claimed she was “leading a nomadic life.” They first made the allegations in 2018. If found guilty, the singer could face a prison sentence of eight years along with a weighty fine. Her case is the latest in the country’s crackdown on tax evasion from high-profile figures, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo being two of the most recent under scrutiny.
The Colombian singer has been a fixture in Spain, primarily due to her relationship with professional soccer player Gerard Pique, who plays for FC Barcelona and was a member of Spain’s World Cup-winning team in 2018. The couple, who share two children, recently split but were residing together in Barcelona during their 11-year relationship. Prosecutors there claim that the singer should have paid taxes in light of the fact that she spent more than half that time in Spain, despite her official home being in the Bahamas.
Shakira has consistently denied that she’s done anything wrong, with her public relations firm issuing a statement saying that she’s paid what she has owed already with an additional interest amount of 3 million euros ($2.8 million). She also rejected a plea deal offered to her by prosecutors. “The order to send Shakira to trial is just another step in any proceedings of this kind. The situation has not changed and everything continues as normal. Shakira’s legal defense will do its job by presenting its written arguments at the appropriate time,” her lawyers said in a statement released to the press after the announcement.