Sorry, court watchers: Shakira has reached a deal with Spanish authorities to settle her tax fraud case on the day the trial was set to begin.
The singer, who is Colombian, was due to appear in the courtroom today to face charges of tax evasion. The Spanish authorities claimed that Shakira owed them over €14.5 million in taxes from a two-year period where she claimed her primary residence was the Bahamas but had allegedly spent most of her time on the other side of the Atlantic. Shakira repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has initially opted to take the case to trial over accepting a settlement offer given in July 2022.
In a statement given to Variety, Shakira said that, despite “taking the extra step in business and personal financial decisions to procure the absolute best counsel” the Spanish authorities “pursued a case against me as they have against many professional athletes and other high-profile individuals, draining those people’s energy, time, and tranquility for years at a time.”
‘While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favor, 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 well-being 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. I admire tremendously those who have fought these injustices to the end, but for me, today, winning is getting my time back for my kids and my career.’
Nice plug for the new album there.
According to the Associated Press, the plea deal includes a suspended three-year sentence and a €7 million fine. That’s a fraction of the €24.5 million in fines she could have faced if found guilty. A guilty verdict would also have included up to eight years in prison. So yeah, when you’ve got the money, take the plea deal.
Dodgy tax dealings tend to be something that makes your fans extremely mad, especially if you’re wildly rich. Shock horror, people who can afford to pay their taxes not doing so makes a lot of us annoyed. Shakira, however, didn’t really face any pushback. Her fandom is devoted and her post-divorce image has been especially sturdy. Pajiba’s own South American correspondent Alberto covered this last year, noting how many of his fellow South Americans joked about Shakira claiming her reparations from Spain. But it’s tough to spin not paying millions in taxes as an oopsie or ethical move when you’re that wealthy. Indeed, tax evasion is so horridly commonplace among the rich and famous that one is more surprised when we hear of someone actually shutting up and paying the full cost.
Shakira doesn’t live in the Bahamas for her health. She’s probably there because its citizens famously do not pay taxes on income, inheritance, gifts, or capital gains. Her net worth is hundreds of millions of dollars but somehow none of that can go towards tax? When she brags about her excellent financial advisors in her statement proclaiming her innocence, we know that they’re not telling her to pony up in the place she’s lived for years.
I’m sure Shakira will head back to the Bahamas and roll around in her cash, Scrooge McDuck-style. Or maybe she’ll return to Colombia and start paying her fair share. Ha.