Shakira has been ordered to stand trial for allegedly failing to pay $13.9 million in income taxes, and the penalty could be severe: prosecutors are seeking a lengthy prison sentence, as well as a hefty fine. However, based on other Spanish tax evasion trials, it seems unlikely that the pop star will be put behind bars.
Why Is Shakira Being Accused Of Tax Evasion?
The singer was accused of not paying income taxes between 2012 and 2014. According to the New York Post, Shakira claimed to have spent less than half of that time in Spain.
Her primary residence is listed as the Bahamas now, but she once lived in Barcelona with her boyfriend, Gerard Piqué, and their two children. Shakira’s PR firm stated that she has paid everything she owes to the Spanish government, plus 3 million euros in interest.
The trial date has not been set, but Shakira will be facing six counts of tax fraud. Prosecutors are planning on sending the singer to prison for eight years, as well as fining her for unpaid taxes.
Soccer Stars Faced The Same Charges
This seems pretty serious, but Shakira is not the first celebrity who has faced tax evasion charges in Spain. Soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were both charged with tax evasion.
Both the athletes cooperated with Spanish authorities and Messi even claimed he had no knowledge of the alleged fraud. “I just played football,” he told a judge. “I signed the contracts because I trusted my dad and the lawyers and we had decided that they would take charge of those things.”
Will Shakira Go To Jail?
Ronaldo, who denied any fraud, was given a two-year suspended jail sentence and was fined 18.8 million euros. After cooperating with authorities, 2 million euros were knocked off the fine.
His suspended sentence also meant he never actually went to prison. Instead, Ronaldo served his time under probation. As long as he didn’t reoffend, the soccer star didn’t have to go to jail.
Messi received the same sort of sentence: a 21-month suspended sentence and a 1.7 million euro fine. These sentences are due to a provision that allows a judge to waive prison sentences under two years for first-time offenders.
Since Shakira is being accused of the same type of crime, it’s pretty likely that the pop star will not actually have to spend any time behind bars—but only time will tell.