Colombian singer Shakira arrives with her lawyer Pau Molins (L) at the High Court of Justice of Catalonia for her trial on tax fraud, in Barcelona on November 20, 2023.
Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, an international pop star professionally known as Shakira, has reached a deal with Spanish authorities in her tax fraud case.
The deal was announced hours before the singer’s trial for tax evasion was meant to commence on Monday.
In the suit, it was alleged that Shakira owed over 14.5 million euros ($15.7 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014. While she listed the Bahamas as her primary residence during this period, prosecutors claimed she had spent the majority of her time in Spain.
The singer might have been sentenced to more than eight years in prison and fines totalling €24.5 million if she had been found guilty in the trial.
With the deal, Shakira is now required to pay a €7.3 million ($8 million) fine with a suspended three-year sentence.
Shakira has constantly defended her innocence ever since the lawsuit became public. In July 2022, prosecutors offered a deal that the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer rejected after she insisted on proving her innocence in the trial.
However, the singer said in a statement to Variety magazine on Monday that while she was confident of victory in the case, she decided to settle in the best interest of her children.
Her statement read in part. “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.
“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 tranquillity for years at a time.”
“While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favour, I have decided to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her well-being in this fight.”
Shakira also said she needed to move past “the stress and emotional toll of the last several years” to focus on her kids and career.
Shakira went through a messy breakup with her long-time partner, Gerard Piqué in June 2022. Their split eventually led her to move from Spain to Miami in April 2023 with her two sons, Milan and Sasha.