By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - A Barcelona judge on Tuesday ordered singer Shakira to stand trial for evading €14.5 million ($14 million) of taxes in Spain.
Accused of six financial crimes, the Colombian pop star faces eight years and two months behind bars and a fine of €23.8 million.
Prosecutors accuse Shakira of failing to pay taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014, alleging that even though her official residence was in the Bahamas, she resided in Spain for more than half of each year. Hence, she should have paid taxes in Spain.
They also allege that the singer used a complex web of companies in tax havens to intentionally hide her earnings.
Shakira has already paid the outstanding €14.5 million plus interest to Spain’s tax office, according to her public relations firm. Still, she has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
While the singer could still reach an agreement with Spanish prosecutors before the trial, the judge’s ruling on Tuesday cannot be appealed.
According to Forbes, Shakira has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide and has embarked on other projects, including hosting the American singing contest The Voice. Her net worth is around $300 million, according to the website Celebrity Net Worth.
The Grammy-winning artist is not the only high-profile celebrity to be charged for tax evasion in Spain.
In 2017, football star Lionel Messi and his father were found guilty of using tax havens to evade €4.1 million in taxes in Spain between 2007 and 2009. They were both handed prison sentences of less than two years, which were reduced to fines.
In 2019, Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo pled guilty to tax evasion and agreed to pay a fine of nearly €19 million.