Spain debt

Those hips don’t pay? Shakira faces tax debt lawsuit

Associated press

BARCELONA, Spain — A Spanish judge on Tuesday approved the trial of Colombian pop singer Shakira for tax evasion.

Spanish prosecutors charged the artist in 2018 with failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($13.9 million) in taxes on income earned between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year sentence jail and a heavy fine if found guilty of tax evasion.

Shakira, 45, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and rejected a deal with authorities to avoid going to trial. Her public relations firm said she had already paid all she owed and another 3 million euros ($2.8 million) in interest.

The court based in the town of Esplugues de Llobregat near Barcelona said Shakira will face six counts of tax evasion. The trial date has not yet been set.

The case hinges on where Shakira lived between 2012 and 2014. Barcelona prosecutors have alleged that the Grammy winner spent more than half of that time in Spain and should have paid taxes in the country, even if his official residence was in the Bahamas.

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has been linked with Spain since she started dating footballer Gerard Pique. The couple, who have two children, used to live together in Barcelona but recently ended their 11-year relationship.

Spain has cracked down on football stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo over the past decade for not paying their taxes in full. They were convicted of escaping but both avoided jail thanks to a provision that allows a judge to waive sentences of less than two years for first-time offenders.