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Shakira docked over tax fraud

Today, Spanish prosecutors are requesting a jail term exceeding eight years for Grammy-winning singer Shakira, who is a superstar from Colombia, in her tax fraud case, which is going to trial in Barcelona.

The singer, 46, denies the accusations, claiming she moved to Spain full-time only in 2015. They claim she defrauded the Spanish government of 14.5 million euros (S$21 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014.

The case centers on how much time the singer, whose hit singles include Hips Don’t Lie, Whenever, Wherever and the 2010 World Cup song Waka Waka, spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014 states.

Spanish authorities allege Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll – dubbed the Queen of Latin Pop – spent more than half of that period in Spain and therefore should have paid taxes in the country.

They stated that although she kept her official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015, she relocated to Spain following the public revelation of her relationship with former FC Barcelona star defender Gerard Pique in 2011.

Shakira “used a set of companies” based in tax havens “with the intention of not paying” tax in Spain, according to the prosecution’s indictment.

The singer is facing charges that could result in an eight-year and two-month prison sentence as well as a fine of almost 24 million euros (S$31.1 million).

Shakira’s lawyers say that until 2014, she was leading a “nomadic life” and earned most of her money from international tours, and that she moved permanently to Barcelona just before the birth of her second son in January 2015.

“I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So, as of today, I owe zero to them,” the singer said in an interview published in Elle magazine in 2022.

Shakira announced her split from Pique in June 2022 after a decade-long relationship, ending what had been one of the world’s most celebrity couples. She moved to Miami in April with their two sons, Milan and Sasha.

Her high-profile trial is set to get underway at a Barcelona court at 10 am (0900 GMT). It is expected to run until Dec 14, with the court scheduled to hear from nearly 120 witnesses.

While the singer is expected to take the stand on the opening session of the trial, she may request permission from the court to not be present at the remaining hearings.

details of her private life will likely emerge during the proceedings since Spanish prosecutors carried out a meticulous investigation to prove their case.

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