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Tax evasion: Shakira may face eight-year jail term

Spanish prosecutors said Friday they would seek a prison sentence of more than eight years against global music superstar Shakira, after she rejected a plea deal on accusations of tax evasion.

Prosecutors in Barcelona will also demand a fine of nearly 24 million euros ($24.5 million) from the 45-year-old “Hips don’t Lie” songstress, whom they accuse of defrauding the Spanish tax office out of 14.5 million euros on income earned between 2012 and 2014.

Shakira, who has sold over 60 million albums, rejected a plea deal on Wednesday, saying in a statement through her lawyers that she was “absolutely certain of her innocence” and had decided to let the case go to court, “confident” that her innocence would be proven.

A formal referral to court has not yet been announced, neither has a trial date been set.

Lawyers for Shakira, one of the biggest names in the global music industry, say an agreement remains possible until the start of any trial.

Prosecutors say Shakira moved to Spain in 2011 when her relationship with FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique became public but maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015. The couple, who share two children, announced their separation in June.

On Wednesday, the star slammed the “complete violation of her rights” and “abusive methods” carried out by the prosecutor’s office.

She claimed prosecutors were “insisting on claiming money earned during my international tours and the show ‘The Voice’” on which she was a judge in the United States, when she was “not yet resident in Spain”.

Shakira was on the singing competition show between 2013 and 2014.

Her lawyers say that until 2014 she earned most of her money from international tours, moved to Spain full time only in 2015 and has met all tax obligations.

She says she has paid 17.2 million euros to Spanish tax authorities and that she has “no debt to the Treasury for many years”.

A Barcelona court in May dismissed an appeal from the singer to drop the charges.

Shakira was named in one of the largest ever leaks of financial documents in October 2021, known as the “Pandora Papers”, among public figures linked to offshore assets.

With her mix of Latin and Arabic rhythms and rock influence, three-time Grammy winner Shakira scored major global hits with songs such as “Hips don’t Lie”, “Whenever, Wherever” and “Waka Waka”, the official song of the 2010 World Cup.

AFP

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