Spanish investigation into Shakira’s alleged tax evasion dropped

Spanish investigation into Shakira’s alleged tax evasion dropped

A Spanish court has shelved an investigation into an alleged tax fraud by the Colombian pop star Shakira, putting an end to her legal woes in the country where she once lived.

Prosecutors had opened the case in July, alleging she had used a network of companies, some in tax havens, to cheat the tax office out of €6.6m (£5.7m) in 2018.

A month later, the singer paid €6.6m to settle the debt.

Prosecutors on Wednesday asked for the criminal case to be dropped over “a lack of evidence” and a day later, the court agreed.

While Shakira had committed “irregularities” in her 2018 tax return, the court said that was “not enough to constitute a [criminal] offence against the tax authorities” and that it found no “intent to defraud” in her conduct.

Pau Molins, one of her defence lawyers, welcomed the decision, saying it had “put an end to the smear campaign waged by the tax authorities” against Shakira and “proves there was never any fraudulent behaviour on the part of the singer”. His client was “completely satisfied that [the court] had acknowledged she had not committed any criminal fraud”, he added.

The decision means Shakira has only one outstanding administrative case to resolve concerning her income from 2011, when she had spent “a maximum of 70 days in Spain … not even half the minimum to be considered a tax resident”, her legal team said.

The court ruling came six months after Shakira settled an earlier tax fraud case, reaching a last-minute settlement with prosecutors on the opening day of her November trial over income she earned between 2012 and 2014.

In that case, prosecutors had sought a jail sentence of more than eight years.

They accused her of defrauding the tax authorities of €14.5m in a case that centred on how much time she was living in Spain. Shakira denied the charges, saying she moved to Spain full-time only in 2015.

By the time the case came to trial, she had already paid €17.45m to settle her outstanding tax debt, prosecutors said.

That trial was concluded on the day it opened, after the singer agreed to pay a fine of nearly €7.8. It had been due to run for three weeks and hear from some 120 witnesses.

At the time, Shakira said she had settled “with the best interest of my kids at heart” because she needed “to move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years” and focus on her career.

Shakira, 47, now lives in Miami, US, with her two sons after splitting from the Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué. He was convicted of tax fraud in 2016 and ordered to pay €2.1m in fines and arrears. His conviction was annulled in 2021 by Spain’s supreme court.

Spain has in recent years cracked down on celebrities, including football stars such as Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, for unpaid taxes.

Both players were found guilty of evasion and received prison sentences that were waived for first-time offenders.