Famous worldwide for songs like “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever”, Shakira won three Grammys and played in the Super Bowl in 2020. For nearly four years, however, she has faced multimillion-dollar tax evasion charges in Spain – which she dismisses as completely baseless.
The Colombian pop star she says Wednesday that prosecutors were wrong to claim that she spent 183 days in Spain each year from 2012 to 2014 and therefore qualified as a taxable resident. She was charged after listing the Bahamas as her residence and now faces up to eight years in prison.
“I have to fight for what I believe,” she told Elle, “because those are false accusations. First of all, I wasn’t going 183 days a year at all at that time. J I was busy fulfilling my work commitments around the world. Second, I paid everything they claimed I owed, before they even took legal action.
Spanish prosecutors originally filed charges against Shakira in December 2018, accusing him of failing to pay 14.5 million euros (then $16.3 million) in taxes. After a trial of almost three years, Judge Marco Juberías found “sufficient evidence of criminality” to recommend that his case proceed to trial.
Shakira told Elle that she was advised on her tax filings by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which she aptly described as “one of the four largest tax firms in the world.” She said she rejected a plea deal and opted for a trial because “I was convinced I was doing it right.”
“Even without evidence to support these fictitious claims… [Spanish tax authorities have] resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to sway people and pressure in the media with the threat of reputational damage in order to force settlement agreements,” she told Elle.
Shakira’s comments come at what she called ‘the darkest hour of my life’, amid other issues like hers difficult break with footballer Gerard Pique. She said Pique’s nationality also unintentionally aggravated his legal hardship.
“While Gerard and I were dating, I was on a world tour,” she told Elle. “I spent over 240 days outside of Spain so there was no way to qualify as a resident. The Spanish tax authorities saw that I was dating a Spanish citizen and started salivating.
She continued: “Clearly they wanted to get that money no matter what. Even for the next few years, I traveled the world, working non-stop. … But they are still came after me.
While a trial date has yet to be set in the tax evasion case, the beleaguered singer has some high-profile friends who are boosting her mood until the time comes. From the rapper William sending his prayers to Coldplay Chris Martin checking in regularly, Shakira seems to have plenty of support.