Shakira Could Face 8 Years In Prison For Tax Fraud In Spain
Experts say this case is about what the definition of a resident is under Spanish law.
Colombian pop star Shakira could face up to eight years in prison for evading taxes.
According to USA Today, Spanish prosecutors allege the “Beautiful Liar” singer failed to pay the government nearly $15 million in taxes between 2012 and 2014.
Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, is headed to trial after rejecting a plea deal, as reported by Yahoo.
Ripoll, 45, listed the Bahamas as her official residence during the time period in question, but prosecutors say she lived in Spain with her now-ex partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué.
A representative told Good Morning America that Shakira has shown "impeccable conduct" as a taxpayer.
"Shakira has always cooperated and abided by the law, demonstrating impeccable conduct as an individual and a taxpayer, and faithfully following the counsel of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a prestigious and globally recognized tax firm," their statement read. "Unfortunately, the Spanish Tax Office, which loses one out of every two lawsuits with its taxpayers, continues to violate her rights and pursue yet another baseless case. Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the judicial process."
Experts believe this case is about the definition of a resident under Spanish law.
Douglas S. Stransky, who practices international law, told USA Today this case comes down to how many days, in a year, a person must live in a country before they are considered a “tax resident.”
"Is one considered a resident of a country by buying a house in that country even if that person is only there for four days?" Stransky said. "I think in this case it is true that Shakira did spend time in Spain, but the real question is whether she spent enough time there so as to be considered a tax resident of the country."
Shakira testified in court, in 2019, about her alleged tax evasion and denied any wrongdoing. It was there that a judge denied her appeal and recommended trial.
Through the public relations firm Llorente y Cuenca, Shakira said she "trusts her innocence and chooses to leave the issue in the hands of the law," in a July 27 statement obtained by USA Today.
A trial date has not been set.