BARCELONA (AFP): A Spanish court said Thursday it has opened a new probe into Colombian music superstar Shakira for alleged income tax fraud.
The 46-year-old “Hips Don’t Lie” singer is already due to stand trial at the end of the year in Spain for allegedly failing to pay 14.5 million euros ($16.3 million) in taxes on income earned between 2012 and 2014.
Now a court in the northeastern town of Esplugues de Llobregat near Barcelona said it had agreed with prosecutors to investigate two possible cases of tax fraud by Shakira from 2018.
The court did not provide further details in its statement.
The singer, who now lives in Miami, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claims she owes nothing to the Spanish tax office.
Her representatives said she has not yet been notified of the new investigation, which they said she learned about through the media.
“As she has already said on numerous occasions, Shakira maintains she has always acted in accordance with the law and under the advice of the best tax experts,” they said in a statement.
“She is now focused on her artistic life in Miami and is calm and confident that her tax matters will be resolved favourably.”
Prosecutors have requested an eight-year sentence and fine of 24 million euros in the first case after Shakira rejected a plea deal over the accusations of tax evasion.
That case centres on where the singer lived between 2012 and 2014.
Prosecutors allege Shakira spent more than half of that period in Spain and should have paid taxes in the country.
They 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.
Shakira’s lawyers have said that until 2014 she earned most of her money from international tours and moved to Spain full time only in 2015, and has met all her tax obligations.
Shakira and Pique, who have two children, lived together in Barcelona until last year, when they ended their 11-year relationship.
The singer announced in April that she and her children were officially leaving Barcelona.
“I settled in Barcelona to provide my children with stability, the same thing we now search for in another corner of the world,” she wrote on Instagram.
The Latina superstar was named in one of the largest-ever leaks of financial documents in October 2021, known as the “Pandora Papers”, as a public figure linked to offshore assets.
With her mix of Latin and Arabic rhythms, the three-time Grammy winner has scored major global hits with songs such as “Whenever, Wherever” and “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, the official song of the 2010 World Cup.
Spain has in recent years cracked down on football stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for not paying their full due in taxes.
Both players were found guilty of evasion and received prison sentences that were waived for first-time offenders.
Shakira’s former partner Pique was himself convicted of tax fraud in 2016 and later ordered to pay the tax office 2.1 million euros.