Instead of accepting a plea deal, Shakira will have her day in court. Prosecutors in Spain have accused Shakira, 45, of defrauding the government of 14.5 million euros ($15 million) in taxes while living in the country from 2012 to 2014, per Reuters. Earlier this week, she rejected a settlement offer from the prosecutor’s office. She claims, per Reuters, that she did not live in Spain during that time.
The document, according to Reuters, claims that Shakira was “ordinarily resident in Spain between 2012 and 2014 and in May 2012 bought a house in Barcelona which became a family home for herself, her partner [Gerard Piqué] and their son [Milan Piqué] born in Spain in 2013.” Shakira (full name Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll) had her official residence listed in the Bahamas during that time, per Billboard. Prosecutors are asking for an eight-year prison sentence and a fine of more than 23 million Euros ($23.5 million) if she’s found guilty. A trial date has yet to be set.
On Sept. 27, news broke that the case would be headed to trial. In a statement to HollywoodLife, a rep for Shakira said that this was not reason for alarm. “The judge’s order for the commencement of trial is simply another step in the standard procedure. The situation has not changed, and everything continues to run its course,” the rep told us on Sept. 28. “Shakira’s legal defense will do its job by delivering its counterargument at the appropriate time, which is called the statement of defense.”
Shakira “is fully confident of her innocence,” a rep for the singer told Reuters, and she considers the case a “total violation of her rights.” She also “trusts her innocence and chooses to leave the issue in the hands of the law,” the PR firm Llorente y Cuenca said in a statement, per Billboard. Shakira claims that she initially paid the 17.2 million euros that the Spanish tax office said she owed and has no outstanding debt with the tax agency.
SShakira’ssituation mirrors what many soccer stars in Spain have faced in the past. Lionel Messi, while playing for FC Barcelona, was hit with a 21-month prison sentence after being found guilty of defrauding Spain of €4.1m between 2007 and 2009, per BBC. But, Messi was never expected to serve a day in jail because, under the Spanish judicial system, prison terms under two years can be served under probation.
This development comes almost two months after Shakira and Gerard, 35, announced their separation after 11 years together. “We regret to confirm that we are separating,” the couple said in a statement released by Shakira’s public relations firm. “For the well-being of our children, who are our highest priority, we ask that you respect our privacy. Thank you for your understanding.”