Colombian singer Shakira will pay a fine of more than 7.3 million euros ($7.98 million) as part of a plea bargain with Spanish prosecutors to avoid prosecution for tax evasion, a Barcelona court announced Monday.
Shakira agreed to a three-year suspended sentence as part of the agreement, which was disclosed at the commencement of what would have been her trial.
Shakira agreed to a three-year suspended sentence and a fine of 7.3 million euros ($7.98 million) under the agreement, which was announced at the outset of what would have been her trial.
Prosecutors accused Shakira of cheating the Spanish government of 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) on revenue generated between 2012 and 2014. Shakira rejected the charges, claiming she only came to Spain full-time in 2015.
The singer, who was dressed in a pink suit and sunglasses, did not speak to the press as he entered and exited the Barcelona courthouse, but she stated in a statement that she agreed to settle for the sake of her two boys, Milan and Sasha.
“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, including my upcoming world tour and my new album,” she said in the statement issued by her lawyers.
“I admire tremendously those who have fought these injustices to the end, but for me, today, winning is getting my time back for my kids and my career.”
The argument revolved over how much time the singer, whose hit tracks include “Whenever, Wherever” and “Waka Waka” from the 2010 World Cup, spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014.
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, called the Queen of Latin Pop, allegedly spent more than half of that time in Spain and hence should have paid taxes in the country, according to Spanish officials.
According to them, she moved to Spain when her relationship with former FC Barcelona star defender Gerard Pique became known in 2011, although she kept her formal tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015.
Shakira’s lawyers claimed that she lived a “nomadic life” until 2014, earning the majority of her money from international tours, and that she moved permanently to Barcelona soon before the birth of her second son in January 2015.
The diva announced her divorce from Pique in June 2022, ending what had been one of the world’s most recognized celebrity partnerships. She and her two sons, Milan and Sasha, relocated to Miami in April.
Her trial was slated to last until December 14, with the court hearing from over 120 witnesses.
To back up their claims, Spanish prosecutors interviewed her neighbors, tracked her photographs on social media, examined payments at hairdressers, and even the health facility she visited during her pregnancy.
Questions about Shakira’s finances have already been raised.
In October 2021, the Latina diva was mentioned in one of the largest-ever leaks of financial information, dubbed as the “Pandora Papers,” which disclosed the global rich’s riches and tax avoidance methods, in her case linked to domicile in the Bahamas.
In recent years, Spain has pushed down on celebrities such as sports stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for failing to pay their full tax obligations.
Both players were found guilty of evasion and got prison sentences that were reduced since they were first-time offenders.
Pique, Shakira’s former partner, was convicted of tax evasion in 2016 and compelled to pay the tax office 2.1 million euros.
The singer received three Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday in Seville, southern Spain, including song of the year and best pop song for her work with Argentine DJ Bizarrap on “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53.”
The song makes fun of her ex-partner Pique and mentions being left with a “debt to the tax office.” It has been listened to about 1.5 billion times on Spotify and YouTube.