Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Shakira Heading to Court in Tax Fraud Case

Shakira will appear in court and be quizzed by Spanish prosecutors over an alleged multi-million pound tax fraud.

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, the Hips Don't Lie hitmaker, who is the partner of Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, has been told to appear before a judge in Esplugues de Llobregat, Spain on June 12th.

Shakira was charged with failing to pay $16.4 million (£12.5 million) in taxes dating from 2012 to 2014 by Spanish authorities in December.

The Colombian native is accused of registering her Bahamas home as her official residence during that period, even though tax officials claim she was actually mostly living in Barcelona with Gerard and their two sons Milan, five, and Sasha, three.

Prosecutors argue that Shakira's stints abroad were only for short professional commitments and are demanding she pay tax in Spain on her global income. People who spend more than 183 days a year in the country are considered Spanish residents for tax purposes.

The musician's defence team insists she was out of the country for the majority of time from 2012 to 2014, with the bulk of her income earned abroad. She only registered as a Spanish resident on tax forms in 2015.

After she was charged, a spokesperson for the star told Billboard.com that she had already paid the outstanding amount as a "gesture of good faith" and "owes no money" to the Spanish state. However, she has not been able to halt criminal proceedings against her.

The hearing in Esplugues de Llobregat, the Barcelona suburb where the musician and sports star live, will take place behind closed doors in accordance with Spanish law.

Shakira is the latest Spanish-based celebrity to face tax charges following similar investigations into the finances of her boyfriend's FC Barcelona teammate, Lionel Messi, and his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.