Shakira is the newest celebrity to have landed in trouble with the Spanish tax authorities. Years after cases were file against footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for tax evasion, the Spanish authorities are charging the pop music star Shakira with tax evasion. According to reports, the Hips Don’t Lie singer is alleged to have failed to pay more than 14.5 million euros (USD 16.3 million) between 2012 and 2014.
The charges on the Columbian singer came on Friday stating that Shakira had listed the Bahamas as her official residence but in fact was living with her footballer husband, Gerard Pique in Spain since 2015. Reports state that tax rates are much lower in the Bahamas than in Spain.
Prosecutors in Barcelona say her travel abroad was for short periods because of professional commitments, while most of the year she stayed in Spain with Pique and her two children.
Prosecutors now want Shakira to pay a bond of 19.4 million euros, the amount the Spanish authorities say she owes in tax, plus 33 per cent, in accordance with the Spanish law. Authorities have also recommended a court freeze of her assets to that amount.
In a response to investigators, Shakira’s defense said that she was away from Spain during most of the time in the cited years, and that most of her income came from abroad. In addition, she maintained that she had not attempted to wilfully hide her income, and characterized the issue as one of “a difference in criteria.” They also added that the singer has "fulfilled all tax obligations" and has always followed the advice of the respected accounting firm PwC, who began working with her in 2012.
Earlier Shakira was also named in the Paradise Papers leaks that detailed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous celebrities that included Madonna and U2's Bono. The documents were stated to have been obtained by the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and investigated by Spanish news website El Confidencial.