Shakira settles Spanish tax fraud case with suspended sentence and £6m fine

Shakira, centre, arrives at court in Barcelona, Spain. Credit: AP

Shakira has reached a deal with Spanish prosecutors to settle a tax fraud case on the morning her trial was set to start. The Columbian pop singer agreed to a fine of more than £6 million and received a suspended sentence as part of a deal with Spanish authorities resolving the long-running case.

The 46-year-old singer had previously been charged with tax evasion and had attended the first day of her trial in Barcelona on Monday.

In the courthouse, the Columbian singer told the presiding magistrate, José Manuel del Amo, that she accepted the agreement reached with prosecutors.

She answered "yes" to confirm her acknowledgement of six counts of failing to pay the Spanish government 14.5 million euros (£3m) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.

Shakira arriving at court in Barcelona, Spain. Credit: AP

Under the deal, Shakira is to receive a suspended three-year sentence and a fine of 7 million euros (£6.1m).

In a statement, she said: "Throughout my career, I have always strived to do what’s right and set a positive example for others."

"While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favour, I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal wellbeing in this fight.

"I need to move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years and focus on the things I love – my kids and all the opportunities to come in my career, including my upcoming world tour and my new album, both of which I am extremely excited about."

Shakira also criticised Spanish authorities in her statement saying despite pursuing "best counsel" for her tax affairs prosecutors still came after her "as they have against many professional athletes and other high-profile individuals, draining those people’s energy, time, and tranquillity for years at a time."

Prosecutors in Barcelona had alleged that Shakira 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 (£21m) against the singer.

The star has argued she did not live in Spain for long enough periods of time to justify being taxed. Credit: AP

Spain has cracked down on tax dodgers in recent years, especially high-profile football stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for not paying their full due in taxes.

The former Barcelona and Real Madrid stars were found guilty of evasion but both avoided prison time after their sentences were suspended.

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has two children, Milan and Sasha, with Barcelona player Gerard Pique.

The couple lived together in Barcelona before ending their 11-year relationship last year. Since then, she resided in Miami.

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