Global pop star Shakira has been summoned on Monday to a Barcelona courthouse to attend the first day of her trial for allegedly defrauding Spanish tax officials of millions of euros. Shakira, 46, faces six counts of failing to pay the Spanish government 14.5 million euros (about USD 15.8 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.
The multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy winner has denied any wrongdoing and said she had paid everything she owed. The case made headlines in 2018. It currently hinges on where Shakira lived during that period.
Prosecutors in Barcelona have alleged that the Colombian singer spent more than half of that period in Spain and therefore should have paid taxes on her worldwide income in the country even though her official residence was still in the Bahamas. Tax rates are much lower in the Bahamas than in Spain.
Prosecutors said in July that they would seek a prison sentence of eight years and two months and a fine of 24 million euros (USD 26.1 million) for the singer who has won over fans worldwide for her hits in Spanish and English in different musical genres.
Shakira's public relations firm said that she had already paid all that she owed and an additional 3 million euros (about USD 3.2 million) in interest.
Shakira turned down a deal offered to her by prosecutors to settle her case in July 2022, saying, via her Spanish public relations firm Llorente y Cuenca, that she "believes in her innocence and chooses to leave the issue in the hands of the law." The details of that potential deal were not made public.
Shakira was named in the "Paradise Papers" leaks that detailed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous high-profile individuals, including musical celebrities like Madonna and U2's Bono.
Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has two children, Milan and Sasha, with Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique. The couple lived together in Barcelona before ending their 11-year relationship last year. Since then, she resided in Miami.