Shakira to pay millions in deal to settle Spain tax fraud case
Under the deal, announced at the start of what would have been the trial of the 46-year-old singer, Shakira agreed to receive a three-year suspended sentence and to pay 7.3 million euros ($7.98 million) in fines.
Prosecutors had accused the superstar of defrauding the Spanish state of 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014, charges Shakira had denied, saying she only moved to Spain full time in 2015.
The singer, who wore a pink suit and sunglasses, did not speak to the throng of reporters as she entered and left the Barcelona courthouse, but in a statement she said she had agreed to settle for the sake of her two sons, Milan and Sasha.
"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, including my upcoming world tour and my new album," she said in the statement issued by her lawyers.
"I admire tremendously those who have fought these injustices to the end, but for me, today, winning is getting my time back for my kids and my career."
The case centered on how much time the singer, whose hit singles include Whenever, Wherever and the 2010 World Cup song Waka Waka, spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014.
Spanish authorities alleged Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll – dubbed the Queen of Latin Pop – spent more than half of that period in Spain and therefore should have paid taxes in the country.
They say she moved to Spain after her relationship with former FC Barcelona star defender Gerard Pique became public in 2011, but maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015.
Shakira's lawyers claim she led "nomadic life"
Shakira's lawyers argued that until 2014, she was leading a "nomadic life" and earned most of her money from international tours, and that she moved permanently to Barcelona just before the birth of her second son in January 2015.
The diva announced her split from Pique in June 2022 after a decade-long relationship, ending what had been one of the world's most famous celebrity couples. She moved to Miami in April with their two sons, Milan and Sasha.
Her trial had been expected to run until December 14, with the court scheduled to hear from nearly 120 witnesses.
Spanish prosecutors had interviewed her neighbors, tracked her images on social networks, and checked payments at hairdressers and even the health clinic she attended during her pregnancy to bolster their accusations.
Questions about Shakira's finances have been raised before.
The Latina superstar was named in one of the largest-ever leaks of financial documents in October 2021, known as the Pandora Papers, which revealed the wealth and tax avoidance strategies of the global rich, in her case relating to residence in the Bahamas.
Shakira nabs music awards amid tax drama
Spain has in recent years cracked down on celebrities like soccer stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for not paying their full due in taxes.
Both players were found guilty of evasion and received prison sentences that were waived for first-time offenders.
Shakira's former partner Pique was himself convicted of tax fraud in 2016 and later ordered to pay the tax office 2.1 million euros.
The singer picked up three awards at the Latin Grammy Awards in Seville in southern Spain on Thursday, including for song of the year and best pop song for her collaboration with Argentine DJ Bizarrap on Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53.
The track takes swipes at her former partner Pique and includes a reference to being left with a "debt to the tax office."
The song has been played almost 1.5 billion times on Spotify and YouTube.
Cover photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP