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Tax slips don’t lie: Shakira charged with tax evasion in Spain

The Columbian singer has been accused of allegedly avoiding £13m in tax by saying she resides in the Bahamas

Shakira has become the latest high profile celebrity to be targeted by Spanish tax prosecutors, stating that the three-time Grammy winner avoided €14.5m (£13m) in taxes by claiming she lived in the Bahamas whilst actually residing in Catalonia.

It was announced 11 months ago that the Spanish authorities would be investigating Shakira’s tax status. And having accumulated a substantial amount of evidence against her, they have outlined the gaps in her supposed cover story. Shakira stated that she changed residences in 2015, moving from the Bahamas to Barcelona to live with her partner, Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, and their two sons.

However, the prosecutors have questioned this, suggesting that she already lived in Barcelona between 2012 and 2014, and should have been paying tax on her worldwide income during that period. They argue that Shakira lived in Spain for most of that time, only going abroad for short periods.

The allegations come after last year’s monumental Paradise Papers scandal, an investigation into offshore finance that revealed a number of prominent celebrities’ taxation habits. The likes of formula one world champion Lewis Hamilton, Madonna, and the disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein appeared on the extensive list. It was in this dossier that Shakira was revealed to be listing her residence as the Bahamas.

Shakira is now the latest, and probably not the last, celebrity to face legal action from Spanish taxation authorities. In 2016, Lionel Messi and his father were given suspended sentences after being proven guilty of evading tax on the footballer’s image rights. And just five months ago, Cristiano Ronaldo pleaded guilty to tax fraud, paying a fine of nearly €19m.

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