Spanish courts have dropped Shakira’s alleged tax evasion case

A Spanish court has decided to end an investigation into an alleged tax fraud case against Colombian pop star Shakira, concluding her legal troubles in the country where she previously resided. The case, initiated by prosecutors in July, alleged that Shakira used a complex network of companies, some based in tax havens, to evade paying €6.6 million (£5.7 million) in taxes in 2018. However, Shakira settled this debt by paying the full amount a month later.

On Wednesday, prosecutors requested that the criminal case be dropped due to “a lack of evidence,” and the court agreed the following day. While the court acknowledged that there were “irregularities” in Shakira’s 2018 tax return, it found these insufficient to constitute a criminal offense and detected no “intent to defraud.”

Pau Molins, one of Shakira’s defense lawyers, welcomed the decision, stating it ended a “smear campaign” by the tax authorities against Shakira and confirmed that she had not engaged in any fraudulent behavior. He emphasized that his client was “completely satisfied” with the court’s acknowledgment.

This ruling leaves Shakira with only one unresolved administrative case regarding her income from 2011. Her legal team argues that she spent “a maximum of 70 days in Spain” that year, far less than the required threshold to be considered a tax resident.

This decision follows a settlement in another tax fraud case six months earlier. On the opening day of her November trial, Shakira reached a last-minute settlement with prosecutors over income earned between 2012 and 2014. In that case, prosecutors had sought a jail sentence of over eight years, accusing her of defrauding €14.5 million. Shakira denied these charges, asserting that she only moved to Spain full-time in 2015. She had already paid €17.45 million to cover her outstanding tax debt by the trial’s commencement. The trial concluded on its first day when Shakira agreed to a fine of nearly €7.8 million.

Shakira explained that she settled to prioritize her children’s well-being and to move past the stress of the legal battles, allowing her to focus on her career. Now 47, she resides in Miami, USA, with her two sons after her separation from Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué. Piqué was convicted of tax fraud in 2016, with fines and arrears totaling €2.1 million, though his conviction was annulled by Spain’s supreme court in 2021.

Spain has recently intensified its scrutiny on celebrities for unpaid taxes, including football stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, both of whom received prison sentences that were waived as first-time offenders.

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