Shakira is set to face trial in Spain for tax evasion after being accused of failing to pay $13.9million (£13m) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.
Authorities are seeking an eight-year prison sentence for the singer on the allegation that she made widespread use of shell companies to conceal her income made between 2012 and 2014.
In a recent response – her first since the claims became public — Shakira claimed her innocence and deemed the charges “fictional.”
In a new interview with Elle she said: “As of today, I owe zero to them.” Shakira went on to explain her confidence in being transparent about her earnings, since she “was advised by one of the four biggest tax specialist firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers.”
Yesterday (September 27), a Spanish judge approved a trial for the case, with prosecutors seeking an eight-year prison sentence. Shakira’s representatives say she has paid everything she owed to the government, with €3m (£2.6m) on top in interest.
A date for the trial has not yet been set.
In the Elle interview, Shakira claimed that the allegations – which she deemed “false” and “without evidence” – are an attempt by the Spanish government “to coerce settlement agreements” via “a salacious press campaign” and the “the threat of reputational damage.” The singer also described such claims as commonplace among her country’s tax authorities, saying that “it’s just their style.”
“It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities do this often not only with celebrities like me, it also happens unjustly to the regular taxpayer,” she said. “It’s just their style. But I’m confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favour.” In July of this year, Shakira rejected a settlement deal offered by prosecutors, leading the case to now go to trial.
Shakira indirectly addressed the claims when they were first reported on in 2018, when her representatives again denied the allegations and claimed that the singer was being used by the government “as a scapegoat” to force guilty taxpayers to confess. In the past, similar charges have been levelled against famous soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, among other celebrities.
A statement sent to the BBC News by Shakira’s publicist said the singer is “fully confident of her innocence” and called the case a “violation of her rights.”
The charges, which date back to 2018, come from an allegation that Shakira spent more than half the year of each year in Spain between 2012 and 2014.