It’s been a rough year for Shakira. Just as she was dealing with the split from her longtime partner, professional footballer Gerard Piqué, the superstar singer is now, as per reports by the NYPost, facing ‘eight years in jail’ after a Spanish judge cleared the path for a trial on charges of tax fraud.
This comes after Spanish prosecutors accused the Columbian pop singer in 2018 of failing to pay $13.9 million in taxes on income earned between 2012 and 2014. The prosecutors also seek an eight-year prison term and a stiff fine if the ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ singer is found convicted of tax evasion.
Shakira, 45, has continuously denied any wrongdoing and insisted that she only lived less than half of the time in Spain during the two-year period. She’s also rejected a plea deal with authorities that would have spared her a trial.
Her PR firm has also insisted that Shakira has already paid all she owed and an additional three million euros – $2.8 million –in interest.
The court based in the town of Esplugues de Llobregat near Barcelona said that the pop singer will face six counts of tax fraud. The date for the trial is yet to be set.
The case is subject to Shakira’s place of residence between 2012-2014. Prosecutors in Barcelona allege that she spent more than half of that time in Spain and should have paid taxes there, but Shakira insists that she spent most of her time in her primary residence, the Bahamas.
“Shakira has always cooperated and abided by the law, demonstrating impeccable conduct as an individual and a taxpayer and faithfully following the counsel of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, a prestigious and globally recognized tax firm. Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the judicial process,” a representative for Shakira told People in an interview in July.
“Unfortunately, the Spanish Tax Office, which loses one out of every two lawsuits with its taxpayers, continues to violate her rights and pursue yet another baseless case. Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the judicial process,” the rep added.
Spain has been cracking down on soccer stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for not paying their full dues in taxes. They were both found guilty of evasion, but both avoided jail time thanks to a provision that enables a judge to waive sentences under two years in length for first-time offenders.