A judge in Spain has approved a trial against Shakira in connection to alleged tax evasion. The charges stem from allegations that the global superstar failed to pay more than $15 million to Spain between 2012 and 2014. Shakira has vehemently denied any wrongdoing but Spanish prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison sentence if she is found guilty.
Shakira has maintained her innocence since the accusations were brought against her in 2018. And in a recent Elle Magazine interview, she faced the accusations head-on, saying that the Spanish government has “resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to sway people, and apply pressure in the media along with the threat of reputational damage in order to coerce settlement agreements.”
The case against Shakira is dependent on proving that she spent more than half of her time during those years living in Spain, though her official residence was in the Bahamas.
In the Elle interview, she was adamant that she was not a resident of Spain as she didn’t spend over 183 days in the country. In her own words, “I didn’t spend 183 days per year at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world.” Furthermore, “While Gerard [Pique] and I were dating, I was on a world tour. I spent more than 240 days outside of Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident.”
This is part of a larger crackdown from the Spanish government on celebrities who the country claims don’t pay their full taxes. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were recently brought to court over tax evasion issues and were found guilty. However, the two soccer stars avoided prison time due to a rather convenient provision allowing a judge to waive a prison sentence of fewer than two years for first-time offenders.
A date for the trial has not been set yet.