Pop singer Shakira has been charged with tax evasion by Spanish state lawyers.
The 41-year-old Colombian allegedly defrauded the Spanish taxman out of Sh1.6 Billion by registering herself in the Bahamas, which has zero income tax, between 2012 and 2014.
State prosecutors, who have spent the past year investigating Shakira, filed charges today.
Lawyers acting for the singer are expected to try to settle the case before deciding whether to try to reach a pre-trial settlement if the request is rejected.
Prosecutors allege the performer registered for tax in the Bahamas as part of a plan to deliberately avoid meeting her tax obligations in Spain.
Shakira moved to Barcelona after starting a relationship with Barcelona FC star Gerard Pique in 2011 – but only registered for tax there in 2015.
Official residents in Spain pay Spanish taxes on their worldwide income.
People who spend more than 183 days in a given calendar year in the country are considered Spanish residents for tax purposes.
Tax inspectors visited Shakira’s favourite hairdressers in Barcelona and checked her social media to try to show she spent most of the three years in Spain.
Spanish media said prosecutors’ criminal complaint offered no proof the Hips Don’t Lie Singer had spent enough time in the country to be considered a tax resident.
But it said the rest of the time she spent out of Spain were ‘sporadic absences’ resulting from work commitments, an argument the singer’s defence lawyers disagree with and are set to fight.
A spokesman for the singer said she did not owe the Spanish taxman any money and insisted she had followed the advice of her financial advisors.
He insisted she was ready to co-operate to ‘resolve the differences in criteria.’