Tuesday, February 7

The Barcelona Court opens the way to judge Shakira for tax fraud

Shakira, this Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival. / AFP

Supports the judge’s proposal to bring the singer to trial for failing to comply with the tax regulations for residence in Spain between 2012 and 2014 and failing to pay 13.4 million

Matthew Balin

Shakira is closer to sitting on the bench. The defense of the Colombian singer has suffered a major judicial setback after the Barcelona Court has rejected her appeal against her prosecution for alleged tax fraud of 13.3 million euros.

In an order from the Tenth Criminal Section known this Thursday, the court endorses the instruction of the Esplugues de Llobregat court and ratifies the magistrate’s proposal to try the artist for six crimes against the Public Treasury: three of the income tax of Individuals (IRPF) and another three on Wealth Tax (IP). The next procedural step, once the provisional indictment and defense briefs have been registered, will be to dictate the order to open the oral trial.

According to the resolution of the Barcelona Court, 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 for the purposes of determining whether or not he has remained 183 days or more in national territory.

For this, the body of three magistrates supports that in an indicative way it 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.

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insufficient documentation

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

The appellant defended that there is not sufficient evidence for criminal purposes that she remained in Spain during the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 for at least 184 days. He 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”, including prosecutors, in the Bahamas.

Shakira’s lawyer also stated 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 the inspectors do not agree” of the Tax Agency and defense experts. This is the case of whether or not to compute, for example, “sporadic absences” from the country for professional reasons.

In relation to the other investigated, Ezequiel Amaranto C., the magistrates uphold the appeal and agree to the provisional dismissal due to lack of evidence. This despite the fact that the investigating court assured that Shakira’s lawyer and tax adviser during the indicated exercises “collaborated” in the maintenance of the corporate framework erected to avoid paying taxes in Spain.


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