ENTERTAINMENT ART

Shakira faces trial for tax fraud in Spain

Barcelona A Spanish judge on Tuesday approved the trial of Colombian pop singer Shakira for tax fraud.

Spanish prosecutors charged the artist in 2018 with failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($13.9) in income taxes between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison sentence and a heavy fine if she is found guilty of tax evasion.

Shakira, 45, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and rejected an agreement with the authorities to avoid going to court. Her public relations firm said it had already paid everything it owed and 3 million euros ($2.8 million) in interest.

A trial date has not yet been set.

The case hinges on where Shakira lived during the 2012-2014 period. Prosecutors in Barcelona alleged that the Grammy winner spent more than half of that period in Spain and should have paid taxes in the country, even though her official residence was in the Bahamas.

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has been linked to Spain since she started dating footballer Gerard Pique. The couple, who have two children, used to live together in Barcelona but recently ended their 11-year relationship.

Spain has cracked down on soccer stars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo over the past decade for not paying their taxes in full. Both players were convicted of evasion and sentenced to prison terms that were waived for first-time offenders.

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