Shakira reveals why she's fighting her tax evasion case in Spain: 'It's a matter of principle'
Shakira may be in the "darkest hours" of her life but she's fighting her way to the light.
In a new interview with Elle magazine ahead of releasing her first album of new music in five years, the singer addresses the tax fraud case brought by the Spanish government threatening her with up to eight years in prison.
Shakira had rejected a settlement offer, the details of which had not been disclosed, sending the tax fraud case to trial. She was previously accused of failing to pay $15 million in taxes between 2012 and 2014 in Spain, a period in which the star says she was not living in the country.
According to court documents obtained by Reuters, Shakira was a resident there during that time frame, as she purchased a home in Barcelona in 2012. (Her official residence was listed as the Bahamas.) In addition to prison time, the filing calls for a fine of $24 million should she be found guilty.
The popstar dismissed the Spanish government's claims as "false accusations," telling Elle she plans to fight the case as a "matter of principle." Shakira argues that she didn't spend the necessary amount of time in the country for tax purposes, 183 days, because she was
"busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world."
"I've paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit," she said. "So as of today, I owe zero to them. And finally, I was advised by one of the four biggest tax specialist firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers, so I was confident that I was doing things correctly and transparently from day one."
Shakira claims this is all par for the course when it comes to the Spanish tax authorities and the tactics they're using against not just her and other celebrities but the "regular taxpayer" as well.
"However, even without evidence to support these fictional claims, as they usually do, they've resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to sway people, and apply pressure in the media along with the threat of reputational damage in order to coerce settlement agreements," she explained. "It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities do this often not only with celebrities like me (or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, [Xabi] Alonso, and many more), it also happens unjustly to the regular taxpayer. It's just their style. But I'm confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favor."
So far there's no date yet set for Shakira's trial.