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Shakira Accuses Spanish Govt of Trying to 'Coerce' Settlement in Tax Case

Shakira accused the Spanish government of attempting to "coerce" a settlement out of her as she prepares for a court battle over tax fraud allegations.

The "Hips Don't Lie" singer, 45, has faced allegations of failing to pay her taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014, prompting prosecutors to call for the Colombian-born Shakira to face an eight-year prison sentence and a multi-million euro fine.

It has been alleged by Spanish authorities that Shakira owes 14.5 million euros (around $14.7 million) in unpaid taxes. The star has countered that she had a legal residency in the Bahamas, which has no income tax, during the time in question.

Prosecutors said that the singer had been living in Barcelona due to her relationship with F.C. Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué, with whom she has two sons. The couple announced their separation in June.

Shakira accuses Spanish government of coercion
Shakira is pictured left on February 17, 2016, in Hollywood, California. She is pictured inset on November 24, 2019, in Madrid, Spain. The singer has accused the Spanish government of trying to "coerce" a settlement out of her in her $14 million tax case in the country. Barry King/Getty Images;/David Aliaga/MB Media/Getty Images

While a trial date has yet to be announced and no details of the deal prosecutors offered to Shakira shared, the musician spoke out against Spanish authorities in an interview with Elle.

When asked why she chose to fight instead of settle, Shakira responded: "Because I have to fight for what I believe; because these are false accusations. First of all, I didn't spend 183 days per year at that time at all. I was busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world.

"Second, I've paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit. So as of today, I owe zero to them. And finally, I was advised by one of the four biggest tax specialist firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers, so I was confident that I was doing things correctly and transparently from day one."

She went on: "However, even without evidence to support these fictional claims, as they usually do, they've resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to sway people, and apply pressure in the media along with the threat of reputational damage in order to coerce settlement agreements.

"It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities do this often not only with celebrities like me (or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, [Xabi] Alonso, and many more), it also happens unjustly to the regular taxpayer. It's just their style. But I'm confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favor."

Shakira and Gerard Piqué
Shakira and her former partner Gerard Piqué are pictured above with their children on October 14, 2021, in Tarragona, Spain. The couple announced their split in June. Joan Amengual/VIEWpress

The star shared details of how she says her busy schedule would not have made it possible for her to have spent six months in Spain.

"While Gerard and I were dating, I was on a world tour," she said. "I spent more than 240 days outside of Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident. 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.

"Even for the next few years, I was traveling the world, working nonstop while pregnant or with Milan as a baby, when my C-section had barely closed. They knew I wasn't in Spain the required time, that Spain wasn't my place of work or my source of income, but they still came after me, with their eyes on the prize."

A spokesperson for Shakira said that the musician will fight for a full acquittal after rejecting a plea deal, telling the U.K. newspaper Metro in July: "Unfortunately, the Spanish Tax Office, which loses one out of every two lawsuits with its taxpayers, continues to violate her rights and pursue yet another baseless case. Shakira is confident that her innocence will be proven by the end of the judicial process."

In October 2021, it was revealed that Shakira was set to be reimbursed by the Spanish Treasury, following a court order over her tax dispute.

While it was not specified how much money Shakira stood to be reimbursed, or when the ruling was made, representatives for the star told Newsweek that she would be paid back for "a series of surcharges that the Tax Agency incorrectly collected."

"In view of the disagreement with the collection, Shakira's defense filed a supplementary declaration that has been resolved by the courts, ruling in her favor and requiring the Tax Agency to return the amounts that she was forced to pay unfairly," read a statement shared with Newsweek.

"Shakira's legal team reiterates its full confidence in the justice system," the statement continued. "This is an example of the fact that, more often than it might seem, the courts go against the criteria of the Administration, even going so far as to annul settlements made incorrectly by the Tax Authorities."

Newsweek reached out to the Spanish Treasury for comment.