Shakira In Court Over Alleged Tax Fraud
Colombian superstar Shakira went to a court near Barcelona on Thursday to be questioned over the alleged evasion of 14.5 million euros ($16.3 million) in taxes.
The 42-year-old singer avoided dozens of reporters, photographers and television cameras at the courthouse in Esplugues de Llobregat by entering via the garage.
The hearing of the performer, one of the biggest stars from Latin America who lives in Barcelona with footballer Gerard Pique and their two young sons, was due to start at 10:00 am local time (0800 GMT).
Prosecutors accuse her and one of her advisers of tax fraud after she allegedly failed to pay taxes in Spain despite being a resident between 2011 and 2014.
The case only covers the period from 2012 to 2014, however, as the timeframe to prosecute alleged tax offences in 2011 has expired.
Prosecutors say that while she moved to Spain in 2011 when her relationship with Pique was made public, her official tax residency remained in the Bahamas Islands until 2015 when she started paying taxes in Spain.
Her defence team, however, insists that until 2014 she earned most of her money in international tours and did not live more than six months a year in Spain — a prerequisite to be an official tax-paying resident in the country.
According to Spanish media, she has already paid back what she allegedly owes to tax authorities.
This is the second time in just over two months that Shakira has appeared in court in Spain after having denied allegations she and Colombian singer Carlos Vives plagiarised part of their Grammy award-winning hit “La Bicicleta.”
The Madrid court subsequently cleared her and Vives, saying there had been “no plagiarism whatsoever.”