After determining that there is proof that the pop diva might have evaded her fiscal duties to the state, a Spanish court examining alleged tax fraud by Colombian musician Shakira recommended that the matter proceeds to trial on Thursday.
Judge Marco Juberas stated that after a three-year investigation it was found out there was "sufficient proof of criminality" to send the matter to a trial judge. Prosecutors allege that the singer neglected to pay up to 14.5 million euros ($16.4 million) in tax revenue generated between 2012 and 2014.
Juberias has concluded its pre-trial inquiry. It's a stage before a trial is scheduled, as per Reuters.
Shakira's defense attorney answered the accusations
While prosecutors claim Shakira lived in Catalonia during those years, her lawyers claim she did not move to Spain until 2015 and has paid all of her taxes. The court filing was an "anticipated step in the process," Shakira's representatives in Spain said in an emailed statement on Thursday. The singer's legal team remains confident and completely cooperating with the judiciary and will not comment more, the statement says.
When the singer was told of the debt by the Tax Office, her public relations company stated that she quickly paid what she owed, Republic World reported. A 2019 statement claims Shakira paid that amount in full as soon as she was informed of the amount that she should pay according to Spain's Tax Office. Shakira has always paid her taxes in every country where she has worked, including from 2011 to 2014, said the firm.
Previous allegations say the singer's fiscal residency was in the Bahamas until 2015, and as a result, she should not have been required to pay Spanish income tax, known as IRPF. Shakira's presence in Spain was "sporadic" throughout the three years in issue, claims a report filed by her defense attorneys. On the other hand, a Tax Agency investigator rejected the argument, claiming that proof of invasion was there even before the judge overseeing the case's pre-trial stage.
Shakira allegedly avoided $16.4 million in taxes by hiding her wealth through a network of businesses headquartered in tax havens, per the prosecutor. The Tax Agency said she was residing in Barcelona for all intents and purposes. Since 2012, no proof of her staying in Bahama for even a single day has been found.
Per USA Today, if Shakira is found guilty of tax evasion, she may face a fine and perhaps jail time. If a first-time offender is sentenced to less than two years in jail, a judge can waive the sentence.
The Colombian singer previously faced a plagiarism case
In 2019, the singer of "Hips Don't Lie" and Carlos Vives were accused of plagiarism in a Spanish court by a Cuban-born singer and producer. In their award-winning single "La Bicicleta," which won two of the three major Grammy Latino awards in 2016, including song of the year and record of the year, Shakira and Vives were accused of plagiarizing Livan Rafael Castellanos' 1997 song "Yo te Quiero tanto."
Shakira told the judge that Castellanos' song is nothing like La Bicicleta; the music is different, the melody is different, and the subject matter is different, according to private Spanish news agency Europa Press. Shakira and Vives were found not guilty of the allegations in May 2019, and the court decided in their favor. Shakira, 44, appeared in court in June 2019 and denied the claims.