Colombian singer Shakira has been called to appear in a Spanish court on June 12 to face accusations of failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($16.5 million) in tax, the court in the Catalonia region said on Tuesday.
A court statement dated Jan. 22 summoning her was published on Tuesday. The prosecutors filed charges in December claiming Shakira had failed to pay tax on income earned between 2012 and 2014, during which time they say she lived in the region. The prosecutors in Barcelona say that Shakira’s travel abroad was for short periods because of professional commitments, while most of the year she stayed in Spain and they want her to pay tax in Spain on her worldwide income.
International singer denies charges and says Spanish prosecutors are using her as “scapegoat” to frighten other taxpayers into coming clean. Shakira’s representatives said in a statement after the accusation was filed that the singer did not live in Spain until 2015 and had met all of her tax obligations. Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes during those years but was in fact living in Spain with her partner, Spanish football player Gerard Pique. Tax rates are much lower in the Bahamas – where Shakira co-purchased an island in 2011, the year before she claimed on taxes to have lived in the Caribbean.
The singer regularly attends football matches of her partner, Gerard Pique, who plays for Barcelona. They have two children together.
Spanish authorities have pursued other major celebrities over tax.
Pique’s Argentinian Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi was found guilty, along with his father, of a 4.1 million euro tax fraud in 2016 and was fined 250,000 euros as well as paying back the missing tax plus interest.
On Jan. 22, Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Real Madrid for Juventus this year, was fined a total of almost 19 million euros for tax fraud.
Shakira was also named in the “Paradise Papers” leaks that detailed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous high-profile individuals, including musical celebrities like Madonna and Bono.