The Colombian-born pop star has reached a settlement in her tax fraud case
Pop singer Shakira has chosen to settle the 14.5 million ($15.7 million) tax fraud case leveled against her by the Spanish authorities out of court. She had been set to testify on Monday in Barcelona and could have faced a prison term if convicted.
Although born in Colombia, the 46-year-old performer was considered by the authorities a resident of Spain for tax purposes between 2012 and 2014. The prosecutor's office was seeking eight years in prison in addition to payment of unpaid taxes.
The pop singer, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, bought a property in Barcelona in 2012, which she used as a family home, according to the prosecution. She lived with former Barcelona and Spain soccer player Gerard Pique for 11 years, having two children. Following the couple's separation, the musician moved to Miami.
On Monday morning, Shakira accepted a deal to pay half of the money owed, which comes out to just over 7 million. She paid a further fine of 438,000 to avoid a three-year prison sentence, said the judge.
"Do you recognize the facts and conform with the new penalties that have been requested?" asked Judge Jose Manuel del Amo Sanchez, who has handled several other high-profile cases.
Shakira replied "yes."
The pop star's most popular songs include 'Hips Don't Lie', a duet with musician Rihanna 'Can't Remember to Forget You', and 'Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)', the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Shakira and her co-creator DJ Bizarrap won awards for song of the year, and best pop song at the Latin Grammy Awards in Seville, Spain on Thursday. This was the first time the awards ceremony was held outside of the US.
Shakira's case is not the only instance in which the Spanish authorities have brought tax evasion charges against foreign celebrities. Other examples include soccer stars such as Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina's Lionel Messi, which were settled for a respective 19 million and 15 million.