Colombian singer Shakira faces trial in Barcelona on Monday in a tax fraud case, with Spanish prosecutors aiming for an eight-year-plus jail term for the Grammy-winning artist.
The 46-year-old is accused of defrauding the Spanish state of 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) from income earned between 2012 and 2014. Despite the charges, Shakira denies wrongdoing, asserting that she only established full-time residency in Spain in 2015.
The trial revolves around determining the amount of time the renowned singer, known for chart-toppers like “Hips Don’t Lie,” “Whenever, Wherever,” and the 2010 World Cup anthem “Waka Waka,” spent in Spain during the years 2012 to 2014.
The tax case against Shakira often hailed as the Queen of Latin Pop, centres on Spanish authorities’ claim that she spent more than half of the period between 2012 and 2014 in Spain and should have paid taxes in the country. They assert that despite publicly revealing her relationship with former FC Barcelona star Gerard Pique in 2011, she officially maintained tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015 when she moved to Spain.
According to the prosecution, Shakira allegedly utilized a network of companies based in tax havens to intentionally evade paying taxes in Spain. Prosecutors are pushing for a jail term of eight years and two months, along with a hefty fine of nearly 24 million euros ($24 million dollars).
In her defence, Shakira’s lawyers argue that until 2014, she led a “nomadic life,” primarily earning income from international tours. They claim that she only established permanent residency in Barcelona just before the birth of her second son in January 2015. The singer herself stated in a 2022 interview with Elle magazine that she had already settled all claimed owed amounts before the lawsuit, emphasizing that she owed nothing at the time.
Shakira’s personal life also underwent significant changes, as she announced her separation from Gerard Pique in June 2022 after a decade-long relationship. Following the split, she moved to Miami in April with their two sons, Milan and Sasha.
Shakira’s high-profile trial is set to kick off at a Barcelona court at 10 am (0900 GMT) and is anticipated to continue until December 14, featuring testimony from nearly 120 witnesses. While the singer is expected to take the stand during the trial’s opening session, there’s a possibility she may seek court permission to be absent from subsequent hearings.
The trial is poised to reveal intimate details of her private life, as Spanish prosecutors conducted an exhaustive investigation to substantiate their case. Their approach included interviewing neighbours, scrutinizing her social media images, examining payments at hair salons, and even reviewing the health clinic she frequented during her pregnancy, all aimed at supporting their accusations.
The proceedings are likely to delve into questions about Shakira’s finances, adding a layer of complexity to the trial and intensifying the public’s curiosity surrounding the legal battle.
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