AceShowbiz - Shakira is facing prison sentence after being ordered to stand trial over allegations of a £12 million tax fraud. On Tuesday (27.09.22), judicial authorities announced the "Hips Don't Lie" singer could face up to eight years in jail after she rejected a plea deal in July on accusations of tax evasion.
The performer will take the stand after a judge at an investigating court in Esplugues de Llobregat near Barcelona formally ordered the singer to stand trial. While the trial date has not yet been announced, it is expected to be in the coming months.
The 45-year-old Colombian singer shares sons Sasha, seven, and Milan, nine, with Spanish football player Gerard Pique, 35, from whom she recently split after accusations he cheated.
Shakira is accused of defrauding the Spanish Treasury out of a fortune over a three-year period from 2012 to 2014. Prosecutors want the maximum sentence over six separate counts of tax fraud totalling £12.2 million. The charges were contained in an indictment submitted by prosecutors to the investigating court near Barcelona, and made public for the first time on July 29.
A representative for Shakira said in a statement when the case first made headlines, "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."
"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."
As well as an eight-year prison sentence, state prosecutors want the mum-of-two to be fined £19.2 million. Shakira - born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll - is accused of pretending to live abroad to avoid paying tax despite moving to Barcelona in 2011 to be with Gerard.
She has already paid an estimated £2.5 million to the Spanish taxman. Shakira, previously living in the Bahamas, registered as a full tax resident in Spain in 2015.
Official residents in Spain pay Spanish taxes on their worldwide income and people who spent more than 183 days in a calendar year there are considered Spanish residents for tax purposes.
Tax inspectors spent more than a year checking up on the singer and even visited her favourite hairdressers in Barcelona and trawled her social media to try to show she spent most of the three years in dispute in Spain. They concluded she had spent 242 days in Spain in 2012, 212 days in 2013 and 243 days in the country in 2014.
The report prosecutors submitted alleged the time she spent out of Spain were "sporadic absences" linked to work. Shakira has denied any wrongdoing.