Columbian pop singer Shakira could be looking at up to eight years in prison because Spanish prosecutors have accused her of tax fraud.
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, is facing six charges alleging she failed to pay the Spanish government nearly $15 million in taxes between 2012 and 2014. The prosecutors said they would also seek a fine of $24.5 million.
The singer "trusts her innocence and chooses to leave the issue in the hands of the law," her public relations firm Llorente y Cuenca said in a statement Wednesday.
The 45-year-old singer’s tax fraud case is expected to go to trial after she rejected a settlement deal offered by prosecutors. A trial date has not yet been set.
If convicted, prosecutors are asking the court for a sentence of eight years and two months.
A judge can waive prison time for first-time offenders if they are sentenced to less than two years behind bars.
Prosecutors charged Shakira with tax evasion in December 2018, claiming that she failed to pay millions in taxes to the Spanish government between 2012 and 2014.
Shakira listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes during those years, but prosecutors allege that she was in fact living in Spain with her now-ex partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué, father of her two children.
Shakira testified before a judge in 2019 as part of an investigation into her alleged tax evasion and denied any wrongdoing. Her PR firm said she immediately paid what she owed with interest once she was informed of the debt by the tax office.
The entire case hinges on where she lived during the years in question.
Spanish Judge Marco Juberías wrote that his three-year probe found there existed “sufficient evidence of criminality” for the case to go to trial.