Hips Don’t Lie but Shakira Might Have


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Shakira at the Cannes 75th international film festival

Internationally celebrated singer-songwriter and dancer Shakira has found herself caught in a multimillion-dollar tax evasion case. One of Latin pop’s biggest stars now faces six accounts of tax fraud that sum up to about 14.5 million euros. Spanish officials say that between the years 2012 and 2014 Shakira failed to pay her residential income taxes, totaling about 13.9 million U.S dollars.

In an interview with Elle magazine, Shakira, 45, shares her side of the case saying, “I spent more than 240 days outside of Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident.”

According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, an internationally known accounting and advisory service, to qualify as a resident of Spain for purposes of taxes, you would need to spend a minimum of 183 days in the country per year.

In the same previously mentioned interview with Elle, Shakira says, “I didn’t spend 183 days per year at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world.”

She was on a world tour when she first began dating Gerard Pique, her now ex-husband, who she separated from earlier this year. The tour is significant because of its overlap with when Spanish officials claim she was in Spain.

While Shakira shares that for her to be in Spain for such an extended period of time would be impossible due to her tour, new court documents point out a house located in Barcelona being purchased in 2012. This plays a prime role in the trial as Spanish officials continue to argue that this property became the primary home of her and her ex-husband Gerard Pique.

According to an NPR article written by the Associated Press, Shakiras’ official place of residence was in another one of her homes, located in the Bahamas, not Spain.

The Spanish prosecutors plan to fine Shakira up to 23 million euros, and she faces a possible 8-year prison sentence if found guilty. This past July, Shakira rejected a plea deal that was presented to her, insisting that she has no ongoing tax debt with the Spanish government nor the treasury. The Grammy winner continues to deny the accusations, saying that she’s repaid the 14.5 million euros with an additional payment of 3 million euros that was acquired in interest, based on a statement from her public relations team.

Similar cases have occurred in the past, with the Spanish treasury. Well-known celebrity soccer players Lionel Messi, Neymar Alonso, and Cristiano Ronaldo have also been put in similar situations with the Spanish government.

“It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities do this often not only with celebrities,” said Shakira when asked about her case. She additionally touched on how allegations of tax evasion occur even to “the regular taxpayer” in Spain. She mentions that her persistence for a day in court is generated by what she states is a “matter of principle.”

A Spanish judge has approved a trial for this case and ordered Shakira to stand trial, but the court date is yet to be set.