Shakira has delivered a stinging attack on tax authorities in Spain ahead of the fraud trial which could see her end up with an eight-year jail sentence.
The 45-year-old singer-songwriter hit out in a surprise onslaught four months after learning Spanish state prosecutors were seeking the stiff penalty if she is found guilty of an alleged £12 million tax fraud. A date for the trial at a court in Barcelona has yet to be set.
The mother-of-two claimed in a statement on Friday that she was being ‘persecuted’ and accused the Spanish Treasury of using ‘unacceptable methods to damage her reputation and force her to come to a settlement agreement.’
She insisted that she had no intention of making any deals and would go to trial.
Hitting out: Shakira has delivered a stinging attack on tax authorities in Spain ahead of the fraud trial which could see her end up with an eight-year jail sentence
A spokesperson for the Colombian artist also made it clear that she felt the country’s tax authorities were accusing her of lying about residing outside of Spain ‘without evidence’ for the years she had been charged with tax fraud.
Shakira, previously a tax resident in the Bahamas, only registered as a full-time tax resident in Spain in 2015 despite starting to date her ex Gerard Pique five years earlier.
People who spend more than 183 days in a given calendar year in Spain are considered Spanish residents for tax purposes.
Spanish tax inspectors reportedly spent more than a year checking up on Shakira, even visiting her favorite hairdressers in Barcelona and checking her social media to try to show that she spent most of the three years in dispute in Spain.
They concluded that she had spent 242 days in Spain in 2012, 212 days in 2013 and 243 days in the country in 2014 before indicting her with six counts of tax fraud for those three years.
Ouch: The mother-of-two claimed in a statement on Friday that she was being ‘persecuted’ and accused the Spanish Treasury of using ‘unacceptable methods to damage her reputation’
Shakira’s lawyer Pablo Molins Amat presented her legal statement of offense today (FRI) to the Barcelona court which has been investigating her, the artist’s publicists confirmed late this morning (FRI).
A statement released by Barcelona-based LLYC and authorized by Shakira said: ‘Shakira is a taxpayer who has always shown impeccable tax conduct and has never had tax problems in any other jurisdiction.
The singer relied on top advisors such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers. She never exceeded the 183 days of presence in Spain required to be a tax resident.
‘With no solid evidence to support the charges against her, she has been fiercely persecuted in the criminal and media spheres using unacceptable methods to damage her reputation and force her to come to a settlement agreement.
‘Shakira has already paid more than 90 million euros for international income that has not been generated in Spain and for her international assets, without having a business center in this country where she has never earned a significant income.’
Shakira also made it clear that she felt the Spanish tax authorities were riding roughshod over her fundamental rights and trying to damage her hard-earned reputation.
She said in a personal message as part of her authorized statement: ‘It is unacceptable that in its accusation the tax authorities are not respecting the legal certainty that must be guaranteed to any taxpayer, not my fundamental rights.
‘As well as that they are trying to damage a reputation earned with the work of many years.’
She added, referring to the ‘unorthodox and unacceptable methods used by the Treasury such as requesting private data from hospitals where the singer requested an appointment: ‘In my case they have violated my right to privacy and the presumption of innocence, basic rights of any citizen.’
Not impressed: The singer also made it clear she was prepared to go to trial to prove her innocence rather than striking a deal with the Spanish taxman
She accused some senior representatives of the Spanish Treasury of making statements to the media in breach of their duty of confidentiality and creating a ‘contrived story that gave the appearance of Shakira’s permanent presence in Spanish territory.
Her representatives added in the hard-hitting statement: ‘What actually occurred were sporadic presences, thus resulting in an accusation based on mere conjecture.
As an example, the accusation counts all the payments made with a series of credit cards belonging to her team and friends made in Spain to add up the days of Shakira’s presence in this country, without taking into account that, on many occasions, there are payments made simultaneously in different parts of the world, without the artist being physically present in those places where the payments were being made.’
The singer also made it clear that she was prepared to go to trial to prove her innocence rather than striking a deal with the Spanish taxman.
Shakira continues to maintain her firm will to comply with all her tax obligations in Spain, as well as in all the countries where she has resided or performed during her long professional career.
‘Finally, Shakira wishes to express her absolute confidence in the independence of the Spanish justice system and her firm conviction that, after the trial, her complete innocence will prevail.’
It’s over: Shakira’s split with former Barcelona player Gerard Pique made international headlines earlier this year
Shakira, whose split with former Barcelona player Gerard Pique made international headlines earlier this year, has already paid the six-figure sum the Spanish taxman claims she defrauded along with interest.
As well as an eight-year prison sentence, state prosecutors want Shakira to be hit with a fine of €23 million and £19.2 million if she is convicted as charged.
Shakira – full name Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll – is accused of pretending to live abroad and using an existing complex offshore corporate structure to avoid meeting her tax obligations from 2012 to 2014.
In a statement issued in July around the time it was confirmed Spanish state prosecutors had submitted their indictment against Shakira, the singer-songwriter’s PR firm said: ‘She believes in her innocence and has chosen to leave the issue in the hands of the law. ‘
In an interview in September, she described her decision to go to trial as a ‘question of principle.’
Last month Shakira and Gerard confirmed that they had signed a custody agreement that would avoid them fighting in court over their two sons Milan, nine, and Sasha, seven.
As part of the agreement, the Colombian is set to move to Miami early in the New Year, if her ailing father’s health permits, with the two children.
Her ex will have 10 days a month with them, meaning he will have to live between the States and Barcelona from now on, as well as holiday time.
Settled: Last month Shakira and Gerard confirmed they had signed a custody agreement that would avoid them fighting in court over their two sons Milan, nine, and Sasha, seven (pictured in 2017)