Shakira to appear in court over alleged tax evasion in Spain

Shakira tax evasion in Spain.jpgThe Colombian singer and philanthropist Shakira has been summoned to appear in a court near Barcelona on 12 June over allegations that she avoided €14.5m (£13m) in taxes, according to Spanish media reports.

Prosecutors, who accused her of tax evasion in December last year, argue that the musician avoided taxes by claiming to live in the Bahamas when she was resident in Catalonia.

Shakira changed residences in 2015 from the Bahamas to Barcelona, where she lives with her partner, the Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué, and their two sons.

But prosecutors allege that she was already living in the Catalan capital between 2012 and 2014, and should have paid tax on her worldwide income for those years in Spain.

They argue she was resident in Spain for most of the year, only travelling abroad for short periods.

On Monday evening, the Catalan newspaper El Periódico reported a judge in Esplugues de Llobregat had agreed to investigate the case and had summoned Shakira to court on 12 June.

A spokesman for the court declined to comment on the report.

The tax authorities began investigating the singer in January last year.

In 2017, Shakira appeared in the Paradise Papers, an investigation by the Guardian and other news organisations into the world of offshore finance. According to the papers, she was listed as a resident of the Bahamas despite living in Barcelona.

Asked at the time about Shakira’s listed residence in the Bahamas, her lawyer said the artist had lived in a variety of places “throughout her professional career and, in every case, has fully met the laws of all the jurisdictions where she has resided”.

El Periódico also reported that Shakira has already paid the Spanish tax authorities €14.5m to settle the debt.

The Grammy award winner, who set up the Bare Foot foundation for underprivileged children in 1997, is the latest high-profile figure to face legal action over their tax affairs.

Earlier this month, the former Manchester United manager José Mourinho was given a one-year suspended prison sentence and agreed to pay €2.2m in fines after admitting tax fraud while he was the manager of Real Madrid.

In January, Cristiano Ronaldo admitted committing tax fraud while playing for Real Madrid and agreed to pay an €18.8m fine after striking a deal with prosecutors and tax authorities in return for a 23-month suspended prison sentence.