A sticky situation. Shakira is caught in the middle of a heated battle with Spanish authorities over the allegation that she failed to pay nearly $14 million in taxes.
In 2018, prosecutors in the European country accused the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer of withholding 14.5 million euro in taxes between 2012 and 2014. At the time, Shakira’s official residence was listed in the Bahamas, but tax authorities claimed that she actually resided during the Catalonia region at the time, meaning she owed taxes to Spain.
The Grammy winner has repeatedly denied the allegations, claiming that the Spanish government is attempting to make an example of her. “I didn’t spend 183 days per year [in Spain] at that time at all,” the “She Wolf” songstress told Elle in September 2022. “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.”
Shakira also pointed out the similarities between her case and those of other celebrities who have run afoul of Spanish tax authorities. In 2017, for example, Cristiano Ronaldo was charged with evading nearly 15 million euro in taxes between 2010 and 2014. He was later sentenced to 23 months in prison, but avoided jail time after agreeing to pay a nearly 19 million euro fine.
The investigation into Shakira’s finances began after her name appeared in the Paradise Papers, a November 2017 document leak about offshore investments. The leak revealed that the Latin Grammy winner’s “musical assets, intellectual property rights and trademarks” were held by a company based in Malta, which has been accused as operating as a tax haven. A lawyer for the musician told The Guardian at the time that the Maltese company “fulfills all legal requirements.”
Shakira has lived off and on in Spain for years, purchasing a home in Barcelona in 2012 with then-boyfriend Gerard Piqué. The Colombia native and the soccer star — who share sons Milan and Sasha — called it quits in June 2022 after 12 years together.
“We regret to confirm that we are separating,” the duo said in a joint statement at the time. “For the wellbeing of our children, who are our highest priority, we ask that you respect their privacy.”
In September 2022, Shakira admitted that the tax fraud allegations and her split from Piqué have caused one of the “most difficult, darkest hours” of her life. “It’s been tough not only for me, but also for my kids,” she told Elle at the time. “Incredibly difficult.”
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