Colombian singer Shakira has gone through the ups and downs of Spain in just four days. Late last week (November 16), she triumphed at the Latin Grammy Awards in Seville, picking up three honors, and yesterday (November 20) pleaded guilty to tax evasion in a court in Barcelona and agreed to pay a fine of over 7 million euros, writes BTA.
The investigation against the artist, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripol, began in 2018. The prosecutor’s office announced that the singer, known for hits such as Waka Waka and Hips don’t lie, failed to pay the Spanish treasury taxes worth about 14.5 million euros between 2012 and 2014 – a period in which she resided in Spain most of the time due to her love affair with Barcelona football club defender Gerard Pique.
Local legislation obliges persons staying on the territory of the country for more than 183 days within a year to pay taxes, including for income received abroad.
Shakira had been living with Pique since 2011, although she claims she settled permanently in Spain four years later and since 2015 has conscientiously registered. It was previously tax registered in the Bahamas. It is there that the singer claims to have lived at the time for which the tax authorities in Catalonia demand the levies. According to her, during that period her visits to Spain were “sporadic”.
She had so far refused to plead guilty to these charges, but was “absolutely convinced of her innocence” and insisted she had paid all her debts to the Spanish treasury. Shakira had the opportunity to enter into a settlement in the summer of 2022, but she did not accept, and thus the trial was scheduled, which yesterday ended in about ten minutes. In the hall in Barcelona, the singer, dressed entirely in pink, said “yes” three times and “thank you” once, after which the case was dismissed, notes Pais.
This is a surprising twist in the case against Shakira. The complete change in her behavior was not due to the Grammy awards for Latin music, which she received on the stage in Seville. Her defense announced that the Colombian agreed to the agreement for the sake of her sons – Milan (10 years) and Sasha (8 years). Under the deal, Shakira pleaded guilty to tax evasion of €14.5 million, paying half of that in fines, as well as another €432,000 to avoid three years in prison, the effective sentence that received eight years and two months in prison, despite the prosecutor’s request.
The singer accepted the deal because she did not want details of her personal life to be made public during the questioning of more than 100 expected witnesses, as well as to minimize the risk of imprisonment “I have to choose my battles and the most important one now is to do everything so that my children can live fully and to focus on what is really important: to see them grow up and spend time with them without putting them through the pain of seeing their mother in a criminal trial” , she said in a released statement. The children are the fruit of her love with Gerard Pique. They separated in 2022, and Shakira moved to Miami with the boys.
Days before she pleaded guilty to tax evasion, Shakira took home three turntables in Latin music’s most prestigious competition. Two of them were won for collaborating with Argentinian DJ Bizarap on the hit Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53. It was awarded Best Song of the Year and Best Pop Song. The third prize that the Colombian took was for the best urban performance for the collaboration with Carol G for the hit TQG (Te Quedó Grande).
Shakira dedicated the trophies to her “Latino audience” and to her two sons, promising them to “grow up happy” in front of the whole world. And days after that, the Colombian began to fulfill her promise – she admitted that she had evaded taxes to save them the stress of seeing her in the dock during the trial. “I have made the decision to finally end this matter in the best way for my children, who do not want to see their mother sacrifice her personal well-being in this battle,” Shakira added in the released statement. Now she thinks she has to prioritize children, career and stability.
However, the agreement in the case does not at all mean that the Colombian woman’s problems with Spanish legislation are completely over. The tax authorities in Spain are investigating the singer, who in 2018 hid more than 6 million euros through offshore companies. The inspection has been ongoing since July this year.