Shakira is currently facing charges of tax evasion by the Spanish government and is staring down a possible eight-year prison sentence and 23 million euros in fines. In an Elle cover story published on Wednesday (September 21), Shakira denied the allegations.
Authorities in Spain claim Shakira evaded 14.5 million euros in taxes between 2012 and 2014. However, Shakira told Elle that she had actually paid her taxes in full before charges were brought and chalked her legal troubles up to overzealous prosecutors. Read below:
[Sighs] Because I have to fight for what I believe; because these are false accusations. First of all, I didn’t spend 183 days per year 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. 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. However, even without evidence to support these fictional claims, as they usually do, they’ve 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. 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.
Even though Shakira maintains that she spent less than 183 days in Spain during the period in question, which would exempt her from resident status and the attendant taxes, prosecutors believe she spent more than the legal amount of time required in Spain to be declared a resident.
A representative for Shakira decried the “baseless case” against the singer in a statement to The FADER published in July. “Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the judicial process,” the rep said.
Shakira was one of several celebrities named in the leak of financial documents known as the Pandora Papers. She was accused of setting up shell companies in tax havens to conceal the extent of her wealth.