Colombian pop sensation Shakira reached a settlement on Monday, averting a trial in Barcelona related to allegations of failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) in Spanish income tax from 2012 to 2014. Shakira, contending that personal reasons triggered the situation, agreed to the charges and a fine equivalent to half of the owed amount, exceeding 7.3 million euros. Additionally, she accepted a fine of 438,000 euros to avoid a potential three-year prison sentence, as disclosed by the trial’s presiding judge.
In a statement released by her Spanish communication agency, Shakira emphasized that her decision to settle was driven by personal, emotional, and sentimental considerations unrelated to legal grounds. While expressing her readiness to defend her innocence, she underscored the prioritization of her career and family, stating, “I have reached the conclusion that winning is not a victory if the price is that they rob you of so many years of your life.”
During the trial’s commencement, Judge Jose Manuel del Amo Sanchez queried Shakira on her acknowledgment of the facts and acceptance of the new penalties, to which she softly responded in the affirmative. Donning a pink suit matching her handbag, Shakira arrived shortly before the trial’s onset, accompanied by her legal team, amidst media attention and the support of fans outside.
Shakira, who recently secured two Latin Grammy awards in Seville, had previously vowed to contest what she deemed false accusations. The prosecutor’s office had sought up to eight years of imprisonment and the recovery of allegedly owed taxes, asserting that Shakira spent more than half of each relevant year in Spain, establishing ordinary residency, and identified a Barcelona property purchased in 2012 as a family home.
Miriam Company, one of Shakira’s lawyers, explained to reporters that while the legal team was confident in proving Shakira’s innocence, the decision to settle was influenced by changed circumstances and personal considerations. The 46-year-old singer, who had lived with former Barcelona and Spain soccer star Gerard Pique for 11 years, moved to Miami following their separation.
Shakira’s case adds to a list of celebrities pursued by Spanish authorities for tax evasion, including soccer luminaries like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Diego Costa, who all settled by paying substantial fines. In contrast, Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso opted for a trial and secured acquittal, a decision upheld by Spain’s Supreme Court last month. (Note: Exchange rate – $1 = 0.9211 euros)