Spain launches evasion probe of singer Shakira’s taxes
MADRID (AP) — Pop music star Shakira is under investigation in Spain for possible tax evasion during the three years before she officially moved to Barcelona, Spanish authorities said Tuesday.
Shakira switched residences in 2015 from the Bahamas to Barcelona, where she lives with her partner, Barca soccer player Gerard Pique, and the couple’s two sons.
Spanish tax authorities suspect the Colombian singer already lived in the northeast city between 2012 and 2014, when she allegedly failed to pay income taxes in Spain.
Prosecutor Jose Miguel Company said the tax authorities referred the probe to the Barcelona prosecutor’s office in December. He said a decision on whether to press charges or not is expected by mid-June.
Anna Forastier, a spokeswoman for auditing firm PwC, said the company has been hired by Shakira for the investigation. Forastier declined to disclose any details.
Shakira was named in the “Paradise Papers” leaks that detailed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous high-profile individuals, including musical celebrities like Madonna and U2′s Bono.
The documents obtained by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and investigated by Spanish news website El Confidencial showed that in 2009 Shakira had relocated her intellectual property rights and brands to a company based in Malta, the tiny European Union nation that has faced allegations of being a tax heaven.
Shakira and Pique’s relationship dates back to 2011, when Shakira started frequenting Barcelona. El Confidencial, citing papers it obtained from offshore services providers, reported that she listed the Bahamas as her official residence until 2015.
“It’s public knowledge that this is not the case,” Company told The Associated Press.
If the probe finds wrongdoing, Shakira would engross a list of celebrities that have been in trouble with Spanish tax authorities, including footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In November, Shakira cancelled the first concerts to promote her 11th album, “El Dorado,” for what she said were medical reasons. The tour is scheduled to begin in June in Germany and then stop in nine more European countries before moving to the United States.