Shakira likely to face 8-year jail term in Spain for tax fraud

Spanish prosecutors said Friday they would seek a prison sentence of over 8 years for global music superstar Shakira, after she rejected a plea deal on accusations of tax evasion

Prosecutors in Barcelona will likewise demand a fine of almost 24 million euros ($24.5 million) from the 45-year-old “Waka Waka” songstress, whom they blame for defrauding the Spanish tax office out of 14.5 million euros on income earned between 2012 and 2014.

Shakira, who has sold more than 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 chosen to allow the case to 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, perhaps one of the greatest names in the global music industry, say an agreement remains possible until the beginning of any trial.

Prosecutors say Shakira shifted to Spain in 2011 when her relationship with FC Barcelona star defender Gerard Pique became public however 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”.

Her lawyers say that until 2014 she earned most of her money from international tours, shifted 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 biggest ever leaks of financial documents in October 2021, known as the “Pandora Papers”, among public figures linked to offshore assets.