A Spanish court has ordered Colombian music superstar Shakira to stand trial on charges of tax fraud to the tune of 14 million euros, with prosecutors seeking an eight-year sentence, filings showed Tuesday.
Prosecutors in Barcelona said in July they would seek to have the singer jailed for more than eight years alongside a fine of nearly 24 million euros ($24 million), after she rejected a plea deal over accusations of tax evasion.
They accuse the 45-year-old “Hips don’t Lie” songstress of defrauding the Spanish tax office of 14.5 million euros ($14.7 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014.
Prosecutors say Shakira moved to Spain in 2011 when her relationship with FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique became public, but maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015.
The couple, who have two children, announced their separation in June.
On September 19, a Barcelona court ordered the singer to stand trial for six alleged tax crimes, according to a ruling made public on Tuesday.
In a statement, Shakira’s lawyers said “the order to proceed with the oral hearing” was expected and that her legal team would “do its job by presenting its arguments at the appropriate time.”
Shakira has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claims she owes nothing to the Spanish tax office.
“I’m confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favour,” she said in an interview published in Elle magazine last week.
“While Gerard and I were dating, I was on a world tour. I spent more than 240 days outside Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident,” she added.
“The Spanish tax authorities saw that I was dating a Spanish citizen and started to salivate. It’s clear they wanted to go after that money no matter what.”