Monday, October 3, 2022

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Shakira insists £12million tax fraud allegations against her are ‘wrong’

Shakira said the tax fraud allegations against her were “false” and she was “confident” that “justice will prevail”.

The 45-year-old singer has been warned she could be jailed for up to eight years if found guilty of an alleged £12million tax evasion.

Spanish prosecutors are also seeking a £19m fine for the star, who faces six counts of state fraud between 2012 and 2014.

Shakira – full name Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll – is accused of pretending to live abroad and using a complex offshore corporate structure to avoid taxes.

She is accused of using the illegal arrangement in 2012 and 2014 when she was in a relationship with footballer Gerard Pique, who lives and plays in Barcelona.

Speaking to Elle magazine, Shakira denied the allegations against her and said she had repaid everything she was allegedly owed.

When asked why she is fighting the allegations, she said: “Because I have to fight for what I believe in; because these are false accusations. First, I didn’t spend 183 days a year at all back then.

“I was busy fulfilling my professional obligations around the world. Second, I paid everything they said I owed even before they filed a lawsuit.

“To this day, I owe them nothing. Finally, I was advised by one of the top four tax firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers, so I was confident from day one that I was doing things properly and transparently.”

Shakira claimed that Spanish tax authorities often resort to “salacious” campaigns against people to try to sway public opinion against them.

She said: “But even without evidence to support these fictitious claims, as they usually do, they have resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to influence people and pressure in the media, along with the threat of Defamation in order to enforce settlement agreements.

‘As is well known, the Spanish tax authorities often do this not only with celebrities like me (or [Cristiano] Ronaldo Neymar [Xabi] Alonso and many more), it also wrongly happens to the regular taxpayer.

“It’s just her style. But I am confident that I have enough evidence to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favour.’

A spokesman for Shakira said: “Shakira has always cooperated and obeyed the law, demonstrated impeccable behavior as an individual and as a taxpayer, and has faithfully followed the advice of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, a renowned and globally recognized tax firm.

“Unfortunately, the Spanish tax authorities, which lose every second lawsuit with its taxpayers, continue to violate their rights and pursue another baseless case.

“Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the trial.”

Shakira, previously a tax resident in the Bahamas, was only registered as fully tax resident in Spain in 2015.

Official residents of Spain pay Spanish taxes on their worldwide income.

Persons who have spent more than 183 days in Spain in a given calendar year are considered Spanish residents for tax purposes.

Tax inspectors spent more than a year checking Shakira, even visiting her favorite barber in Barcelona and checking her social media to show she had spent most of the three years in dispute in Spain.

They concluded that she had spent 242 days in Spain in 2012, 212 days in 2013 and 243 days in the country in 2014.

The report, which prosecutors filed with her criminal complaint, claimed the time she spent outside Spain was “sporadic absences” related to work commitments.

A date for the trial has not yet been set as some analysts predict a deal could still be struck in the eleventh hour before Shakira is asked to comment.

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