Madrid: A Spanish court on Thursday dismissed an appeal from Colombian singer Shakira in a tax fraud case, paving the way for a trial as the judge announced that there was ample evidence to suggest she may have avoided her fiscal obligations to the state.
The case first made headlines in December 2018 after Spanish prosecutors charged Shakira with failing to pay 14.5 million euros (USD 15.5 million) in taxes on income earned between 2012 and 2014. However, she denied any wrongdoing while testifying in June 2019, as per Billboard.
The heart of the matter lies in the speculation about the pop singer's residence. The court believed that she mostly lived in Spain despite having an official residence in the Bahamas.
The Spanish court said the evidence showed that Shakira was 'a habitual resident in Spain,' adding that the documents did not support her residency for tax purposes in another country.
However, Shakira's public relations firm claimed that she had immediately paid her dues once she was informed of the debt by Spain's Tax Office.
The singer's legal team has confirmed in a statement that it will continue to 'defend her innocence.' "Shakira's conduct on tax matters has always been impeccable in all the countries where she has had to pay taxes, and she has trusted and faithfully followed the recommendations of the best specialists and expert advisors," her PR firm said.
If convicted of tax evasion, the singer could potentially face fines and imprisonment. However, a judge may way imprisonment time for the first-time offenders if they are sentenced to imprisonment for less than two years.