Shakira to Face Trial in Spain for Tax Fraud Case

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Shakira will be heading to court on charges of tax fraud in Spain, the Associated Press reports

The 45-year-old Colombian pop star is accused of neglecting to pay 14.5 million euros -- $13.9 million -- in taxes on income she earned between 2012 and 2014. It was during those years that Shakira notably joined the judges panel for The Voice in the United States and released her self-titled tenth studio album. Her song, "Dare (La La La)," was featured prominently for the 2014 FIFA World Cup -- for which she performed during the closing ceremony -- as part of its companion album. 

Though Shakira listed her official residence those years as the Bahamas, Spanish prosecutors allege that she spent more than half that time in Spain and should've paid taxes in the country, AP reports. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison sentence and a substantial fine if she is found guilty of tax evasion. 

In a statement to ET, Shakira's rep said the singer "is confident that her innocence will be proven" by the end of the trial.

"Shakira has always cooperated and abided by the law, demonstrating impeccable conduct as an individual and a taxpayer, and faithfully following the counsel of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, a prestigious and globally recognized tax firm," the statement reads. "Unfortunately, the Spanish Tax Office, which loses one out of every two lawsuits with its taxpayers, continues to violate her rights and pursue yet another baseless case. Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the judicial process."

Shakira has denied all wrongdoing and previously rejected a plea deal with authorities to avoid trial. "[Shakira] trusts her innocence and chooses to leave the issue in the hands of the law," her PR firm said, declaring that the singer has paid in full all that she owed in addition to three million euros -- $2.8 million -- in interest. 

A trial date has not yet been set. 

Shakira elaborated on her decision to fight the accusations in a trial in a recent interview with Elle magazine.

"Because I have to fight for what I believe; because these are false accusations," Shakira said. "First of all, I didn’t spend 183 days per year at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world. Second, I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. 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."

"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 also claimed. "But I’m confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favor."


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