Shakira Settles Ongoing Five-Year Tax Fraud Case in Spain

Shakira settles tax fraud case in Spain
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Photo Credit: AXP Photography

Pop singer Shakira has struck a last-minute deal to settle the ongoing tax fraud case since 2018. The settlement avoids the risk of the singer serving prison time.

Shakira answered ‘yes’ in agreement to a statement confirming six counts of failure to pay 14.5 million euros ($15.8M) to the Spanish government between 2012 and 2014. The trial would have included over 100 witnesses and lasted several weeks—but after just eight minutes the singer told the magistrate she had reached an agreement with prosecutors.

The terms of the agreement will see Shakira receive a suspended three-year sentence, a fine of 7.8 million euros ($8M), and she must pay all previously unpaid taxes and interest on that amount. Shakira will also pay a fine of 432,000 euros ($472,000) to waive per prison sentence. Her legal record now state she is guilty of tax fraud, which could impact other pending tax cases.

The tax fraud allegations hinged on Shakira’s living arrangements from 2012 to 2014. Spanish prosecutors allege the singer spent more than half the period living in Spain and should have paid taxes on her worldwide income there—even if her official residence was listed as the Bahamas. In July 2023, prosecutors told the press they would seek a prison sentence of more than eight years and a fine of $26M.

“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,” the singer said in a statement released by her PR firm. “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.”

“This has been a difficult decision that took time to reach,” Shakira’s defense lawyer Miriam Company told the press. “Her legal team prepared the trial and were convinced we could demonstrate her innocence, but the circumstances changed and [Shakira] opted to accept the deal.” Her defense team has argued that the singer spent no more than 60 days in Spain during the 2012-14 period.

Shakira was previously offered a settlement by prosecutors in July 2022, but she turned that settlement down. At the time, the singer said she believed in her innocence and chose to leave the issue in the hands of the law. Details of that settlement were not made public, so we have no idea if this settlement is the same.