Barcelona, Spain (AP) – A Spanish judge on Tuesday approved the trial of Colombian pop singer Shakira on charges of tax evasion.
In 2018, Spanish prosecutors accused the artist of failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($13.9 million) in taxes on income earned between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors are seeking eight years in prison and a hefty fine if found guilty of tax evasion.
Shakira, 45, has repeatedly denied that she had done any wrong and denied a deal with the authorities to avoid legal action. The public relations firm said it had paid off all its debts, plus 3 million euros ($2.8 million) in interest.
A court in the town of Esplugues de Llobregat, near Barcelona, said Shakira would face tax evasion six times. A hearing date has not yet been set.
The case depends on where Shakira lived in 2012-2014. Prosecutors in Barcelona said the Grammy winner spent more than half of that time in Spain and had to pay taxes in the country despite his official residence in the Bahamas.
Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabelle Mebarak Ripoll, has been linked to Spain since she started dating football player Gerard Pique. The couple, who have two children who previously lived together in Barcelona, recently ended their 11-year relationship.
In the last decade, Spain has cracked down on football stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for not paying full taxes. They were convicted of tax evasion, but both escaped jail time due to a provision that allowed a judge to change prison sentences of up to two years for first-time offenders.