Singer Shakira in court in Spain over alleged tax fraud

Shakira allegedly failed to pay taxes in Spain despite being a resident between 2011 and 2014.
Shakira allegedly failed to pay taxes in Spain despite being a resident between 2011 and 2014.PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA (AFP) -  Colombian superstar Shakira was questioned by a judge near Barcelona on Thursday (June 6) over alleged evasion of 14.5 million euros (S$22.25 million) in taxes. 

The 42-year-old singer avoided dozens of reporters, photographers and television cameras at the courthouse in Esplugues de Llobregat by entering via the garage.

The hearing of the performer, one of the biggest stars from Latin America who lives in Barcelona with footballer Gerard Pique and their two young sons, lasted an hour and 20 minutes, a court spokeswoman said.

She only responded to her lawyer, she added.

Prosecutors accuse her and one of her advisers of tax fraud after she allegedly failed to pay taxes in Spain despite being a resident between 2011 and 2014.

The case only covers the period from 2012 to 2014, however, as the timeframe to prosecute alleged tax offences in 2011 has expired.

Prosecutors say that while she moved to Spain in 2011 when her relationship with Pique was made public, her official tax residency remained in the Bahamas Islands until 2015 when she started paying taxes in Spain.

Neither Shakira nor her lawyer spoke to the press, but her press team released a statement in which they said the artist was innocent.

They stressed that she had paid everything claimed by tax authorities. "There is currently no debt," read the statement

Her defence team had previously argued that until 2014 she earned most of her money in international tours and did not live more than six months a year in Spain - a prerequisite to be an official tax-paying resident in the country.

 

The statement said "Shakira has always fulfilled her tax duties in all those countries in which she has worked, including in the period between 2011 and 2014."

It added that she followed "the opinions and precise recommendations of her advisers, who are top-level professionals from one of the biggest companies in the world."

This is the second time in just over two months that Shakira has appeared in court in Spain after having denied allegations she and Colombian singer Carlos Vives plagiarised part of their Grammy award-winning hit La Bicicleta.

The Madrid court subsequently cleared her and Vives, saying there had been "no plagiarism whatsoever".