Shakira Resolves Tax Fraud Trial with Last-Minute Deal in Barcelona
In a surprising turn of events, international pop sensation Shakira has agreed to a deal with Spanish prosecutors on the first day of her tax fraud trial in Barcelona, bringing an end to nearly five years of maintaining her innocence.
Facing charges of failing to pay 14.5 million euros (approximately $15.8 million) in taxes to the Spanish government between 2012 and 2014, Shakira accepted the agreement during a brief court appearance. The deal includes a suspended three-year sentence and a fine of 7 million euros ($7.6 million).
The trial, which was expected to feature over 100 witnesses, was abruptly halted after just eight minutes. Originally, prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of eight years and two months, along with a fine of 24 million euros ($26 million) for the Grammy-winning artist known for her hits in both Spanish and English.
Shakira’s decision to accept the deal was explained in a statement released by her public relations firm. The singer expressed a desire to prioritize her family, career, and peace of mind, stating, “I need to move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years and focus on the things I love, my kids and all the opportunities to come in my career.”
The tax fraud case centered on Shakira’s residency during the period in question. Prosecutors argued that despite her official residence being in the Bahamas, she spent more than half of the relevant time in Spain and should have paid taxes on her global income in the country.
The trial’s sudden resolution marks a departure from Shakira’s previous stance. Her defense team, led by lawyer Miriam Company, had prepared to contest the charges, believing they could prove her innocence. However, the circumstances changed, leading Shakira to opt for the negotiated settlement.
This legal saga began when Shakira was implicated in the “Paradise Papers” leaks, revealing the offshore tax arrangements of various high-profile individuals. Despite her previous claim of innocence and a rejected deal in July 2022, the singer has now accepted the terms proposed by prosecutors.
Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has faced additional legal troubles, with Spanish state prosecutors charging her in September with evading 6.7 million euros in tax on her 2018 income through an offshore company.
As the trial concludes, Shakira, who recently triumphed at the Latin Grammy Awards, expressed gratitude to her Spanish fans for their unwavering support, acknowledging both the good and challenging times.
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