International pop star Shakira has agreed to a deal with prosecutors in Barcelona in her tax fraud case, avoiding time in prison.
The Colombian singer was facing six counts of failing to pay the Spanish government 14.5 million euros ($15.8 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors sought an eight-year prison sentence in addition to a 24 million euros ($26 million) fine, but on Monday, the first day of her trial, she agreed to the deal that left her with a three-year suspended sentence and a much smaller fine. She had previously rejected a plea deal last year, but continues to maintain her innocence.
In a statement obtained by Fox News Digital, the singer explained, “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.”
“Throughout my career, I have always strived to do what’s right and set a positive example for others. That often means taking the extra step in business and personal financial decisions to procure the absolute best counsel, including seeking the advice of the world’s preeminent tax authorities such as PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, who advised me from the start, and subsequently Ernst & Young Global Limited,” the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer said.
“Unfortunately, and despite these efforts, tax authorities in Spain 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.”
Prosecutors in Barcelona say Shakira spent more than half of both 2012 and 2014 in Spain and, therefore, is required to pay taxes in the country. The star previously appealed the charges, but a court struck down her request in May 2022.
Under the deal reached, Shakira is to receive a fine of 7 million euros ($7.6 million) in addition to the suspended three-year sentence. She will also pay an additional fine of 432,000 euros ($472,000) related to the sentence.
“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,” her statement concluded.
Had an agreement not been reached, the trial would have included more than 100 witnesses over the next several weeks.
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.
Shakira is still facing separate tax evasion charges based on her 2018 income. Those charges were officially filed in September, where she was accused of not paying 6.7 million Euros ($7.1 million) to the Spanish government.
Prosecutors have accused her of using an offshore company based in a tax haven to avoid paying the tax. Her legal team previously told Fox News Digital that “no notification” of the filing had “been received in Miami, the singer’s official address, about the lawsuit in relation to the 2018 financial year.”
Shakira lived in Spain for several years, as her ex-partner Gerard Piqué was a member of FC Barcelona. When the couple split, they entered into a brutal custody battle. Shakira and her two sons ultimately moved to Miami in April.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.