Thursday, December 1

Shakira will be judged for an alleged tax fraud of 14.5 million euros

The singer Shakira. / Reuters

The court opens an oral trial for the Colombian singer, who will sit on the bench of the Barcelona Court accused of six crimes against the Public Treasury between 2012 and 2014

Matthew Balin

Shakira will sit on the bench accused of six tax offenses between the years 2012 and 2014, for which she stopped entering the public coffers 14.5 million euros. The Court of Instruction number two of Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona), where the Colombian singer had her residence before separating from the soccer player Gerard Piqué, has notified this Tuesday the order to open an oral trial after rejecting the Provincial Court of Barcelona the resources of your defense against prosecution. It will be this body that judges the accused on a date yet to be determined, given that the crimes carry a punishment of more than five years in prison.

Last May, the court of the Tenth Criminal Section already endorsed the instruction of the Esplugues court, whose head is Judge Ana Duro, and ratified the proposal to put the artist on the bench for six crimes against the Public Treasury: three from Personal Income Tax (IRPF), 12.3 million, and another three on Wealth Tax (IP), 2.1 million.

According to that resolution, with the data included in the case, it can be considered that the appellant, Shakira Isabel Mebarak, was a habitual resident in Spain between the years 2012 and 2014 and “sporadic absences” would also be computed in order to determine whether or not she has remained 183 days or more in national territory.

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For this, the body of three magistrates supported that in an indicative way he would have stopped paying taxes here for three fiscal years despite having the obligation to do so. The days that she would have remained in Spanish territory and that determine her tax liability status would be 243 in the 2012 financial year, 212 in the 2013 financial year and 244 in the 2014 financial year. And, specifically, she would not have remained in Spanish territory for 123 days in 2012 , 153 in 2013 and 121 in 2014. These days would deserve to be considered “sporadic absences” and, likewise, should be taken into account to set the total days of presence in Spain.

Treasury tests.

Therefore, the Chamber concluded that the documentation provided to prove tax residence in another country on those dates, specifically in the Bahamas, “does not seem sufficient” in the terms that have been required in tax regulations. However, the 23-page order established that in this procedural phase, and with the trial pending and only to be pointed out, “the interested dismissal cannot be given once the insufficiency of the evidence of accreditation of the main fact has not been appreciated” .

The appellant argued that there is insufficient evidence that she remained in Spain during the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 for at least 184 days. It considered that the State Tax Administration Agency uses indirect evidence and other presumptions that could never reach the status of source of evidence in a criminal proceeding, not even with indicative value. And he tried to prove with documentation that in those years he was a resident “for all purposes”, also fiscal, in the Bahamas.

Shakira’s lawyer explained that he could not know at the time of settling in the Bahamas and organizing his assets that one day, by having contact with our country, it would raise a problem of normative interpretation “in which they do not agree” the inspectors of the Tax Agency and defense experts. This is the case of whether or not to compute, for example, the so-called “sporadic absences” from the country for professional reasons.

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