In a dramatic twist of events, international pop star Shakira has averted an eight-year prison sentence by reaching a last-minute settlement in her Spanish tax fraud case. The Colombian singer, known for hits like "Hips Don't Lie," agreed to the deal just as her trial was about to commence in Barcelona on Monday, November 20.
Shakira, 46, emerged from the court donning a light-pink pantsuit, her demeanor a blend of relief and triumph. Photographs captured by OK! show her smiling and waving to fans after successfully closing the case that had loomed over her for years. The settlement includes a three-year suspended sentence, which means she won't face jail time as long as she adheres to certain conditions and commits no further offenses. Additionally, Shakira will pay a fine of €7 million ($7.6 million).
The pop star's decision to settle was driven by the desire to focus on her family and career. "I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart," Shakira said in a statement. She stressed the need to move past the stress of the last several years to concentrate on her children, career, and upcoming projects, including a new album and a world tour.
The case revolved around Shakira's tax payments from 2012 to 2014, a period during which she achieved significant success, including her role as a judge on "The Voice" in the U.S. and the release of her self-titled 10th studio album. Spanish prosecutors contended that although Shakira listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes, she spent significant time in Spain and thus owed taxes there.
Before the settlement, Shakira maintained her innocence and had initially refused a deal offered by prosecutors in July 2022. However, the prospect of a lengthy trial and the potential impact on her family led to her accepting the settlement. Shakira's defense lawyer, Miriam Company, acknowledged the difficulty of the decision, noting that while the legal team was confident in proving her innocence, the circumstances necessitated a change in strategy.
Shakira's legal battles, however, are far from over. She faces another charge from Spanish state prosecutors for alleged tax evasion in 2018, involving €6.7 million. This separate case continues to unfold as Spain intensifies its crackdown on tax evasion, which has previously implicated soccer stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The singer's recent appearance at the Latin Grammy Awards in Seville, where she expressed gratitude to her fans in Spain, underscores her enduring popularity despite her legal challenges. Now residing in Miami, Shakira continues to navigate the complexities of her legal and personal life while maintaining a strong public presence in the music industry.