Shakira avoided trial in Spain in return for a €7m fine

Global music star Shakira has avoided a tax fraud trial in Spain by paying a fine of more than 7 million euros in a last-minute deal with prosecutors, AFP reported.

Arriving at the court in Barcelona at around 09:00 GMT, the 46-year-old Colombian singer answered yes to the presiding judge, who asked her at the start of the hearing if she pleaded guilty and accepted the sentences imposed.

The singer left court shortly afterwards without making any statements to the press and was fined more than 7.3 million euros, corresponding to "50%" of the amount of the fraud, according to the terms of the settlement.

She also received a three-year suspended sentence, replaced by a financial penalty of 432,000 euros, the court said in an announcement in X. Therefore, the total amount Shakira will have to pay is almost 7.8 million euros.

In this way, the singer, who has already paid 17.2 million euros to the tax authorities in this case to settle her situation, was spared a lengthy court process and a display of her past life in the Catalan metropolis, where she lived for years with former footballer Gerard Pique before their high-profile split last year.

"I had two options: to continue to fight until the end, betting my peace and that of my children, to stop making songs, albums and tours" or "to close and leave behind this chapter of my life", says in statement Shakira, who moved to Miami with her children after the split.

The prosecutor accused Shakira of not paying her taxes in Spain in 2012, 2013 and 2014, even though he said during those years she lived in the country for more than 183 days a year - the threshold above which a person must be considered tax resident.

He requested a sentence of eight years and two months in prison and a fine of 23.8 million euros.

For her part, the singer vehemently denied the allegations, insisting that although she began a relationship with Pique in 2011, during those years she did not stop traveling the world for her career.

She claims she only settled permanently in Barcelona in late 2014, and in 2015, just before the birth of her second child, she moved her tax residence from the Bahamas to Spain.

Shakira, whose name appeared in the "Pandora Files" - a large-scale journalistic investigation accusing several hundred celebrities of hiding assets in offshore companies - is not yet finished with the Spanish justice system.

This summer, prosecutors opened another case against her for alleged tax fraud in 2018, estimated at six million euros.

This trial, in which nearly 120 witnesses had to be heard, could have turned into a spectacular unraveling of the singer's life.

Apart from Shakira, many other celebrities have had problems with the Spanish tax authorities, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, who were also fined millions of dollars and sentenced to prison that they should not have served.

In 2016, Pique was ordered to repay more than €2.1 million to the tax authorities. /BGNES