Sun, Dec 16, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Singer Shakira charged with tax evasion in Spain

The Guardian, MADRID

Spanish prosecutors have charged Colombian singer and philanthropist Shakira with tax evasion, alleging that she avoided 14.5 million euros (US$16.4 million) in taxes by claiming to live in the Bahamas while actually resident in Catalonia.

Shakira changed residences in 2015 from the Bahamas to Barcelona, where she lives with her partner, Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique and their two sons.

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

They say that she was resident in Spain for most of the year, only traveling abroad for short periods.

A judge is to decide whether there is enough evidence to put Shakira on trial.

Shakira’s representatives told the Associated Press that they had no immediate comment to make.

The decision came 11 months after Spanish judicial authorities announced an investigation into the singer’s tax status.

Last year, Shakira appeared in the Paradise Papers, an investigation by news organizations into the world of offshore finance.

According to the papers, she was listed as a resident of the Bahamas, despite living in Barcelona.

Asked at the time about Shakira’s listed residence in the Bahamas, her lawyer said the artist had lived in a variety of places “throughout her professional career and, in every case, has fully met the laws of all the jurisdictions where she has resided.”

The Grammy award winner, who set up the Bare Foot foundation for underprivileged children in 1997, is the latest star to face legal action over their tax affairs.

In July 2016, Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge, were given suspended 21-month sentences after being found guilty of evading tax on the player’s image rights.

The suspended sentences were later replaced with fines.

Five months ago, former Real Madrid soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud and pay a fine of nearly 19 million euros in exchange for a two-year suspended prison sentence.

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