Shakira appears in Spanish court over tax evasion allegations

Singer reportedly paid £13m to settle debt in February and said she was up-to-date with taxes

The Colombian singer Shakira has appeared in a Spanish court to testify over allegations that she avoided paying €14.5m (£13m) in taxes.

The 42-year-old said she was up-to-date with her taxes, had given her full cooperation to the investigation and had no outstanding debts with the tax authorities.

She arrived at the Esplugues de Llobregat court near Barcelona at about 10am, using the court’s car park entrance to avoid the media.

Prosecutors, who accused her of tax evasion in December last year, argue she avoided taxes by claiming to live in the Bahamas when she was resident in Catalonia.

Shakira changed residences in 2015 from the Bahamas to Spain, where she lives with her partner, the Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué, and their two sons.

But prosecutors allege she was already living in the Catalan capital between 2012 and 2014, and should have paid tax in Spain on her worldwide income for those years.

They argue she was resident in Spain for most of the year, only travelling abroad for short periods.

In February, the Catalan newspaper El Periódico reported that the singer had paid the Spanish tax authorities €14.5m to settle the debt.

In a statement released on Thursday morning, Shakira’s PR company said she had appeared in court to “help clarify the facts over her tax situation in Spain”. It said the singer had always met her tax obligations in every country where she had worked and did not own taxes to the Spanish state.

“As soon as she learned how much she owed the Spanish tax authorities – and before a complaint was filed – Shakira paid the full amount, as well as providing the tax office with exhaustive information. For this reason, there is currently no debt whatsoever.”

Given that there were no more payments to be made, it continued, the only remaining matter for discussion was the interpretation of rules over when Shakira began to be liable to pay taxes as a resident in Spain.

Last month, a Spanish court cleared Shakira and fellow Colombian star Carlos Vives of accusations of plagiarism of part of their Grammy award-winning hit La Bicicleta.

Liván Rafael Castellanos, a Cuban singer known as Livam, had alleged that the tune copied parts of the melody and lyrics from his song Yo te quiero tanto (I love you so much).

The court ruled that the allegedly shared lyrics – including the line, “I love you so much” – were “common, used in all sorts of songs and lyrics, all through history”, adding that the melody, rhythm and harmony were different.


Sam Jones in Madrid

The GuardianTramp

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