International pop star Shakira is facing an eight-year prison term in Spain for tax fraud allegations following her rejection a settlement offer earlier this week.
Reuters reports that a Spanish prosecutor’s office is asking a judge for the stiff prison time plus a fine of more than 23 million euros ($23.5 million) if she’s found guilty in the case, which does not yet have a trial date set. Terms of the settlement offer she declined have not been disclosed.
The Colombian singer, who has sold over 80 million albums worldwide, is accused of failing to pay taxes on worldwide income between 2012 and 2014. Shakira, however, maintains she did not live in Spain at that time, and has already paid the Spanish tax office the full debt owed, 17.2 million euros.
In a statement released to the media Wednesday, the 45-year-old singer said she “is fully confident of her innocence” and considers the case “a total violation of her rights.”
According to the prosecutor, Shakira bought a family home in Barcelona in May of 2012, and lived there with her partner—soccer player Gerard Pique—and their son, who was born in Spain in 2013.
Spanish prosecutors initially charged Shakira with tax evasion in December of 2018, alleging she avoided paying 14.5 million euros in taxes by claiming to live in the Bahamas while actually residing in Catalonia.
Shakira changed residencies from the Bahamas to Spain in 2015 and, according to The Guardian, appeared in court in 2019 to cooperate with the investigation. Her reps at the time stated that she had cooperated to “help clarify the facts over her tax situation in Spain.”
Her reps elaborated, “As soon as she learned how much she owed the Spanish tax authorities—and before a complaint was filed—Shakira paid the full amount, as well as providing the tax office with exhaustive information. For this reason, there is currently no debt whatsoever.”
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