Pop Star Shakira Receives Three Years of Probation and €7.3 Million Fine for Tax Fraud In Spain
Today, on the first day of her tax fraud trial, Colombian singer and pop star Shakira reached a plea deal with Spanish prosecutors. She appeared before a Barcelona court to answer to tax fraud charges brought by the Ministry of Finance, which were brought against her by the Spanish prosecutor's office, El País writes.
According to the agreement, Shakira is to receive a three-year suspended sentence and pay a fine of €7.3 million ($8 million) in addition to previously unpaid taxes and interest.
She will pay a further fine of €432,000 ($472,000) in exchange for the cancellation of her prison sentence.
Shakira refused to continue to defend her innocence, which would have meant a possible sentence of more than eight years in prison and a fine of 23.5 million euros ($25.6 million), the Spanish portal explains.
The 46-year-old singer arrived at the courthouse accompanied by her lawyer and pleaded guilty to tax evasion. She answered "yes" to confirm her plea to six counts of failing to pay the Spanish government 14.5 million euros (about $15.8 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014, when she was already living in Spain.
The trial, which was expected to involve more than 100 witnesses over several weeks, was instead cancelled after just eight minutes.
Shakira, who had just won three Latin Grammy Awards in Seville, issued a statement explaining her reasons for agreeing to the plea and mentioning the role of her children in the decision.
In a statement provided by her public relations firm, Shakira said that she wanted to fight, but put her family, career and peace of mind first.
"I decided to finally resolve this issue in the interest of my children, who do not want their mother to sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight," she said. "I need to get rid of the stress and emotional burden of the last few years and focus on what I love, my children and all the opportunities that will open up in my career."
She sat briefly in front of the panel of judges, surrounded by groups of prosecutors on one side and the defence on the other.
"It was a difficult decision that took time to make," defence lawyer Miriam Kompany told reporters.
In July 2022, Shakira rejected a deal offered to her by prosecutors to settle her case, saying through her Spanish public relations firm Llorente y Cuenca that she "believes in her innocence and decides to leave the matter in the hands of the law. Details of the potential deal were not made public at the time.