Pop superstar reaches deal to settle tax fraud case



Bangkok Post Public Company Limited



BARCELONA: Colombian superstar Shakira will pay millions of euros in fines as part of a settlement announced yesterday with Spanish prosecutors to settle her tax fraud case and avoid trial in court. Under the deal, announced at the start of what would have been the trial of the 46-year-old singer, Shakira agreed to receive a three-year suspended sentence and to pay €7.3 million (280.7 million baht) in fines. Prosecutors had accused the superstar of defrauding the Spanish state of €14.5 million on income earned between 2012 and 2014, charges Shakira had denied, saying she only moved to Spain full time in 2015. The singer, who wore a pink suit and sunglasses, did not speak to the throng of reporters as he entered and left the Barcelona courthouse, but in a statement she said she had agreed to settle for the sake of her two sons, Milan and Sasha. “I need to move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years and focus on the things I love — my kids and all the opportunities to come in my career, including my upcoming world tour and my new album,” she said in the statement issued by her lawyers. “I admire tremendously those who have fought these injustices to the end, but for me, today, winning is getting my time back for my kids and my career,” the statement added. The case centred on how much time the singer, whose hit singles include Whenever, Wherever and the 2010 World Cup song Waka Waka, spent in Spain between 2012 and 2014. Spanish authorities alleged Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll — dubbed the Queen of Latin Pop — spent more than half of that period in Spain and, therefore, should have paid taxes in the country. They say she moved to Spain after her relationship with former FC Barcelona star defender Gerard Pique became public in 2011 but maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015.