A judge in Spain ordered Shakira to face charges of tax fraud in court Tuesday, Sept. 27, according to The Associated Press.
The pop star will face six counts of tax fraud, with prosecutors alleging in that she failed to pay €14.5 million (about $13.9 million) in income tax between 2012 and 2014. A trial date has not yet been set.
Prosecutors are seeking a hefty punishment for Shakira, saying back in July that the Colombian singer should get eight years in prison, plus a €20 million fine, if convicted. Shakira did have the chance to avoid going to trial when she was offered a plea deal earlier this year, but she declined.
For her part, Shakira has denied wrongdoing and, in a recent interview with Elle, called the allegation against her “false accusations.“ (A rep for the singer declined to comment further following the judge’s ruling.)
In that interview, Shakira added, “I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So as of today, I owe zero to them. And finally, I was advised by one of the four biggest tax specialist firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers, so I was confident that I was doing things correctly and transparently from day one. However, even without evidence to support these fictional claims, as they usually do, they’ve resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to sway people and apply pressure in the media along with the threat of reputational damage in order to coerce settlement agreements. It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities do this often not only with celebrities like me (or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, [Xabi] Alonso, and many more), it also happens unjustly to the regular taxpayer. 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 favor.”
The tax fraud charges, which were first leveled in 2018, stem from the claim that Shakira spent more than half the year in Spain every year between 2012 and 2014. Spanish tax law stipulates that anyone living in the country for more than six months is considered a resident and must pay taxes.
Shakira, however, has denied these allegations as well, telling Elle, “I didn’t spend 183 days per year” in Spain during that 2012 to 2014 period. “I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world,” she added.