Shakira Settles Spanish Tax Fraud Case, Cites ‘Emotional Toll’ on Her Kids as Reason
Shakira has always stood up for herself and her family. From her aging father or her two boys, Sasha and Milan, the “Wherever, Whenever” singer has their back. Now, with her family in mind, she settled her tax fraud case with the Spanish government.
According to PEOPLE, the singer walked into the first day of her trial in Barcelona, Spain, telling the courts she would be settling. It took all but eight minutes to conclude proceedings. During Shakira’s statement, she vehemently maintained her innocence, per the BBC.
The Spanish government gave Shakira a $7.6 million fine and a suspended three-year sentence
Despite settling the case, the Colombian singer maintained her innocence for nearly five years, per CBS. The “Te felicito” singer admitted to the presiding judge that she and Spanish prosecutors agreed on an outcome to the case.
Because of her settlement, Shakira went on record acknowledging that she failed to pay the government €14.5 million in taxes between 2012 and 2014. That’s roughly $15.8 million for all six counts of failure to pay taxes per Spanish prosecutors.
Another part of the deal was that she’d receive a suspended three-year sentence, with a fine of €432,000 ($472,000). CBS adds that this case could affect the outcome of another case she has with tax officials.
Meanwhile, according to PEOPLE, if she had taken the case to trial and lost, Shakira would have faced the possibility of up to eight years in prison. There would have also been a €24 million ($26 million) fine to pay.
Additionally, reports state that Spanish prosecutors were ready for the chance to go to trial. They reportedly had more than 100 witnesses lined up to attest that Shakira had been living in Spain during that time.
The Colombian singer’s lawsuit came from Spain’s strict residency and tax laws
The BBC cites that under Spanish law, people spending at least six months there are considered tax-paying residents. Expatica explains that someone is regarded as a Spanish resident if they’ve been living in the country for at least 183 days or more. Those days don’t have to be consecutive.
Tax officials also look to see if you have businesses and family living in Spain. If you do, you’re also counted as a Spanish resident and will be required to pay taxes. Expatica details that non-Spanish residents are subjected to some taxes as well.
If you fall under the six-month mark but live in Spain, you’d only pay taxes on your Spanish income. Owning a property but not living in Spain will also see you having to submit documentation to tax officials.
Where does Shakira come into this? Despite Shakira’s claims that she didn’t meet this threshold, prosecutors issued a document claiming the purchase of a house. The Barcelona home was seen to be a base for her children and her then-partner Gerard Piqué.
The Colombian singer’s lawyers disputed that until 2014, she mainly traveled for work. They added that much of her income was made outside of Spain. The BBC reports that it wasn’t until 2015 that she declared Spain her home. At the time, she reportedly paid €17.2 million ($18.8 million) in taxes. This allegedly left her with no outstanding debts to pay the government.
Shakira admitted to accepting a deal to take care of her mental health after a trying few years
The singer addressed the court, acknowledging that she was prepared to fight to prove her innocence. However, she had decided to put her kids first.
Shakira said, “While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favor, 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 admitted that the last few years had taken an “emotional toll” on her. She acknowledged wanting to move “past the stress.”
The Colombian singer continued, “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, both of which I am extremely excited about.”
“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,” Shakira asserted.
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