Colombian singer Shakira will formally be accused by Spanish state prosecutors of a multi-million Euros tax fraud in the next few days.
The pop star, 41, will have to defend herself against claims she defrauded the Spanish taxman out of nearly 15million euros over three years. As daily El Pais reported.
State prosecutors have spent the past year probing Shakira and have now concluded 14.5million euros is the amount they believe she defrauded between 2012 and 2014.
The publication said the formal criminal complaint against the mother-of-two – accusing her of three counts of tax fraud for each of the three tax years – would be lodged with a judge in the next few days.
Lawyers acting for the singer are expected to seek the closure of the criminal case before deciding whether to try to reach a pre-trial settlement if the request is rejected.
Shakira, previously tax resident in the Bahamas, only registered as a full tax resident in Spain in 2015.
Prosecutors are said to have reached the conclusion that the performer pretended to live in the Bahamas as part of a plan to deliberately avoid meeting her tax obligations after starting a relationship with Barcelona star Gerard Pique in 2011 and moving to the Catalan capital.
Official residents in Spain pay Spanish taxes on their worldwide income, while people who spent more than 183 days in a given calendar year in the country are considered Spanish residents for tax purposes.
Tax inspectors spent more than a year checking up on Shakira, even visiting her favourite hairdressers in Barcelona and checking her social media to try to show she spent most of the three years in dispute in Spain.
Shakira posing for the camera: Tax evasion inquiry: Tax inspectors spent more than a year checking up on Shakira to show she spent most of the three years in dispute in Spain
Spanish media said the report prosecutors would submit along with their criminal complaint offered no proof Shakira had spent enough time in the country to be considered a tax resident.
But it said the rest of the time she spent out of Spain were ‘sporadic absences’ resulting from work commitments, an argument the singer’s defence lawyers disagree with and are set to fight.
A spokesman for the singer said she did not owe the Spanish taxman any money and insisted she had followed the advice of her financial advisors.
He insisted she was ready to co-operate to ‘resolve the differences in criteria.’
Shakira was named in the recent Paradise Papers scandal after it was revealed late last year she transferred £30million in musical rights to an offshore firm in Malta.
Her lawyer Ezequiel Camerini told Spanish news website El Confidencial the singer lived in Barcelona – but quoted him as justifying her links to a tax haven on the basis that ‘as an international artist, she had lived in several places in the course of her professional life, acting in total accordance with the laws of all the jurisdictions she resides in.’
Shakira, full name Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, separated from former Argentinian president’s son Antonio de la Rua in August 2010 before starting a relationship with Gerard Pique in 2011.
They have two children Milan, five, and Sasha, four.