Shakira has reached a settlement for her tax fraud case in Spain, right before it was supposed to go to trial on November 20. The “Hips Don’t Lie” hitmaker, 46, agreed to a suspended three-year sentence and a 7 million Euros fine ($8 million USD). She’ll also pay 432,000 Euros ($472,000) for her suspended sentence, according to The Associated Press.
Shakira faced tax fraud charges that could have resulted in jail time. In 2022, the performer was accused of allegedly failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($15 million) in taxes while living in Spain from 2012 to 2014. On September 26, Shakira was charged in a second tax fraud case, which claims that she allegedly failed to pay 6.7 million euros ($7.1 million) in taxable income from 2018. Shakira’s rep previously told Reuters that she “is fully confident of her innocence” amidst her legal troubles. It’s unclear if the current settlement will have an impact on the second set of charges.
Prior to the settlement, Shakira denied that she did not pay taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014. She was first accused of not paying taxes worth almost $14 million (14.5 million euros) in 2018, and now prosecutors are taking the “Waka Waka” singer to trial. Throughout the proceedings, Shakira has continued to say that she’s innocent, and she’s even rejected a plea deal, where she would’ve avoided jail time. Her PR firm had said that she’d already paid the taxes and 3 million euros ($2.8 million) in interest in a statement to The Associated Press.
Shakira has also called the charges “false accusations,” and said going to trial was a “matter of principle” in an interview with Elle. She’s also denied being in Spain for the 183 days required to pay the taxes. “I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So as of today, I owe zero to them,” she told the magazine. “I’m confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favor.”
As the singer prepares to head to trial, find out everything you need to know about the cases here.
The Charges Against Shakira
As mentioned, there are two separate tax fraud cases against Shakira. In the case of the first trial, the court is based in a town near Barcelona, and there have been six counts of tax fraud brought against Shakira for the period between 2012 and 2014. The law states that residents who live in each country for 183 days or more (or at least six months) out of the year, must pay taxes, but the “She Wolf” singer has claimed that she didn’t qualify for the stretch of time that the government claims that she was living there. She’s claimed that her official residence was in the Bahamas at the time, per NBC News.
Besides claiming that Spain was not her official residence, Shakira has also claimed that she was too busy traveling all over the globe for performances and other obligations during that time period in the aforementioned Elle interview. She’s claimed that her former relationship with soccer player Gerard Pique, whom she split up with in June 2022, made her a target for the government. “I didn’t spend 183 days per year at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world,” she told the outlet. “While Gerard and I were dating, I was on a world tour. I spent more than 240 days outside of Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident. The Spanish tax authorities saw that I was dating a Spanish citizen and started to salivate.”
In July 2023, Shakira became under investigation for tax fraud in a second case in Spain. At the time, her lawyers said that they haven’t received notification of the investigation, and learned about it from the news. They said the singer would need to be notified at her home in Miami. “The singer’s legal team will not make any comment until the notification reaches her through the formal and legally established channels,” they said in a statement to Reuters. “As she has already stated on numerous occasions, Shakira asserts that she has always acted in accordance with the law and under the advice of the best tax experts. She is now focused on her artistic life in Miami and is calm and confident that her tax affairs will be resolved favorably.”
The second tax fraud case was brought against Shakira on September 27, 2023. She was charged with allegedly failing to pay 6.7 million euros ($7.1 million) in taxable income from 2018. Spanish prosecutors also accused Shakira of allegedly using an offshore company to “avoid” paying the tax. No official trial date has been set for the second set of charges against Shakira
Shakira’s Possible Jail Time
Shakira could have faced serious consequences for her tax fraud if she was found guilty. She could have been sentenced to up to 8 years in prison and be fined 23 million euros ($23.5 million) if the court ruled against her in the first case. The trial was set to begin on November 20, but she reached a settlement.
Shakira was given the option to take a plea deal, where she would’ve avoided jail time if she took it. Despite being given the option, her representatives said that she was “fully confident of her innocence,” when she rejected the deal, in a statement at the time. Shakira has accused the government of taking part in a “salacious press campaign” to try to “coerce settlement agreements” from taxpayers. She likened her situation to other stars who have faced tax problems, like Cristiano Ronaldo.
As mentioned above, Shakira agreed to a lesser fine and suspended sentence for the case. The “She Wolf” singer revealed that she agreed to the settlement in the interest of her children. “I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight,” she said in a statement. “I need to move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years and focus on the things I love, my kids and all the opportunities to come in my career.”