Colombian pop sensation Shakira has agreed to a substantial €7.3 million ($7.98 million) as part of a legal settlement, allowing her to evade imprisonment and bring an early conclusion to a protracted fraud trial in Barcelona.
According to reports from both the New York Times and Daily Mail, the internationally renowned singer, with an estimated net worth of approximately £240 million, will pay the €7.3 million fine for six confessed tax fraud offences, a significantly reduced sum compared to the initial prosecutor’s demand.
Shakira had already settled her outstanding tax obligations, amounting to nearly £15 million (€17 million) with accrued interest, prior to the legal resolution. Additionally, she will be required to pay a fine of £378,000 (€432,000) to avoid incarceration.
The singer was summoned to a Barcelona courthouse as she faced spending eight years behind bars for allegedly defrauding Spanish tax officials.
Judge Jose Manuel del Amo asked Shakira to take the stand after the lawyers involved in the case confirmed in open court a deal had been made.
He asked the singer: “Do you accept the charges against you and the new replacement penalties you are facing,” and Shakira replied, “I do.”
Mr Manuel del Amo then confirmed that in light of the settlement, he was handing the artist a three-year prison sentence, six months for each of the six counts of tax fraud she had admitted to.
But he added she will pay a fine instead of spending time in prison.
Shakira revealed that her children played a pivotal role in influencing her decision, expressing their desire for her to be happy and spare them the anguish of a prolonged court trial.
The singer, who had faced six counts of failing to pay £12.7 million in taxes between 2012 and 2014, was pictured earlier walking into Barcelona’s Provincial Court.
Reports suggest that she is finalizing a deal to avoid trial, with sources indicating an agreement where she would admit to the charges, pay a substantial fine, and potentially receive a prison sentence of less than two years.
The legal battle centred on Shakira’s residency status during the tax years 2012 to 2014. Prosecutors allege that she lived in Spain “on a regular basis” and failed to declare her worldwide earnings.
Despite her insistence on innocence, Shakira’s decision to resolve the case aims to spare herself from a lengthy trial that could impact her image.
The trial, originally scheduled to take place over 12 sessions on non-consecutive days, would have involved 117 witnesses, including Shakira’s ex-boyfriend, chauffeur, and various individuals associated with her life in Barcelona during the disputed years.
Shakira’s legal team has been in contact with state prosecution representatives, and reports suggest a potential deal is in the works. The resolution, if reached, would need to be communicated to the judges before being ratified in open court.
This development comes after Shakira’s recent return to Spain from Miami, where she spent over a week before heading to Seville for the Latin Grammys.
The singer had previously faced a separate tax probe in Spain related to suspected 2018 tax breaches