Shakira Could Face A Hefty Prison Sentence For Alleged Tax Fraud

Shakira at Cannes Film Festival wearing a black dress

Shakira says her hips don’t lie but Spanish prosecutors reckon her tax statements do, accusing the singer of tax fraud. If found guilty, she could be up for more than eight years in prison and a AU$35 million fine.

Per the BBC, prosecutors have alleged Shakira failed to pay just over AU$21 million in tax between 2012 and 2014. They’ve claimed the star was living in Spain during this time but maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015.

Shakira has said she wasn’t living in Spain during that two year period. According to prosecution documents seen by Reuters, however, she allegedly bought a house in Barcelona in 2012 for her and her family (RIP Shakira and Gerard Piqué).

For those of us who need a quick refresher on our Spanish tax lore (so essentially, everyone who doesn’t live in Spain), anyone who spends more than half the year in the country is considered a resident for tax purposes.

Shakira was offered a plea deal but rejected it. Per the ABC, a statement from her lawyers said she was “absolutely certain of her innocence” and considers the case “a complete violation of her rights”.

She also criticised the “abusive methods” of the prosecutor’s office, alleging they were “insisting on claiming money earned” during her international tours and from when she was a judge on the The Voice in America from 2013 to 2014.

According to the ABC, Shakira’s lawyers have said she only moved to Spain full-time in 2015 and has paid more than AUD$25 million in taxes.

A trial date hasn’t been set in stone yet. It’ll be taking place whenever, wherever, if you will.

The whole situation is a bit of a déjà vu moment for Shakira; her former husband Piqué was fined more than AUD$3 million in 2019 for evading tax between 2008 and 2010.

In the immortal words of “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, whatever happens to Shakira and her tax fraud allegations, we’re sure she’ll pick herself up, dust herself off and get back in the saddle.