Shakira is sharing her thoughts on her ongoing tax fraud case.
The singer is facing a legal battle after being charged with tax evasion, as prosecutors in Spain alleged she failed to pay the Spanish government 14.5 million euros ($15 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors also said if she’s convicted, they would ask a court to sentence her to eight years in prison.
Shakira opened up about the case in her Elle cover story and explained why she chose to reject a settlement deal and fight the accusations.
“Because I have to fight for what I believe; because these are false accusations,” she said. “First of all, I didn’t spend 183 days per year [in Spain] at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world. Second, I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So as of today, I owe zero to them.”
She continued, “And finally, I was advised by one of the four biggest tax specialist firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers, so I was confident that I was doing things correctly and transparently from day one.”
Shakira noted that without evidence to support the “fictional claims,” the Spanish tax authorities “have resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to sway people, and apply pressure in the media along with the threat of reputational damage in order to coerce settlement agreements.”
While at the center of her own legal battle, Shakira pointed out that other stars have also faced the same battle. “It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities do this often not only with celebrities like me (or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, [Xabi] Alonso, and many more), it also happens unjustly to the regular taxpayer. It’s just their style. But I’m confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favor.”
According to The Associated Press, prosecutors in Barcelona have alleged that the singer should have paid taxes in the country because she spent more than half of each year between 2012 and 2014 in Spain. Shakira argued against the claims, explaining that during those years she was on a world tour and “spent more than 240 days outside of Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident.” Because she was dating Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué at the time — they recently ended their 11-year relationship — she told Elle the Spanish tax authorities “started to salivate” and “it’s clear they wanted to go after that money no matter what.”
“Even for the next few years, I was traveling the world, working nonstop while pregnant or with Milan as a baby, when my C-section had barely closed. They knew I wasn’t in Spain the required time, that Spain wasn’t my place of work or my source of income, but they still came after me, with their eyes on the prize,” she continued. She ultimately said going to court was “a matter of principle.”
A trial date has yet to be set.