Colombian superstar Shakira vowed to fight what she claimed were “false” accusations by Spanish authorities that she dodged 14.5 million euros ($14.31 million) in taxes, in her first public comments on a case that could see her sent to prison for up to eight years.
Shakira, 45, is facing trial in Spain accused of failing to pay taxes between 2012 and 2014, a period in which she said she was leading a “nomadic life” because of her work.
“I have to fight for what I believe because these are false accusations,” the ‘Hips don’t lie’ singer told Elle magazine in an interview published online in the United States on Wednesday and due to run in its October print edition. “I owe zero to them.”
The prosecutor’s document, seen by Reuters, asserts that Shakira spent more than half of each year in Spain between 2012 and 2014, and in May 2012 bought a family home in Barcelona. In July last year, a Spanish judge said he had seen “sufficient evidence” for Shakira to face trial. A second judge rejected her appeal against the decision in May.
Shakira, who in July rejected a deal with the prosecutor to settle the case, says the authorities only came after her “with their eyes on the prize” when they found out she was dating FC Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique, who is Spanish. “While Gerard and I were dating, I was on a world tour. I spent more than 240 days outside of Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident,” she said.
“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,” the singer claimed.
Shakira added that she had already paid what the Spanish tax office said she owed before they filed a lawsuit. She said she was confident that she had behaved correctly and transparently from the beginning, suggesting the Spanish authorities “resorted to a salacious press campaign” to damage her reputation.
The combination of her recent separation from Pique, a custody battle for their two children, the illness of her father and “fighting on different fronts” meant she was facing “probably the darkest hour of my life,” the singer said.
On split with Gerard
The singer has now spoken up and shared how their children are coping with the breakup. “I’ve remained quiet and just tried to process it all. And yeah, it’s hard to talk about it, especially because I’m still going through it, and because I’m in the public eye and our separation is not like a regular separation. And so it’s been tough not only for me but also for my kids. Incredibly difficult,” E! News quoted Shakira as saying.
“I have paparazzi camping outside, in front of my house, 24/7. And there’s not a place where I can hide from them with my kids, except for my own house. You know, we can’t take a walk in the park like a regular family or go have an ice cream or do any activity without the paparazzi following us. So it’s hard,” she added.
However, the Hips Don’t Lie crooner is doing her best to shield her kids from the breakup and the media attention. “I try to do it and to protect them because that’s my number one mission in life. But then they hear things in school from their friends or they come across some disagreeable, unpleasant news online, and it just affects them, you know?” Shakira continued.
The breakup, however, is still hard to digest for Shakira. “Sometimes, I still feel like this is all a bad dream and that I’m going to wake up at some point.” Talking about her relationship with the soccer star, she said, “It’s real and what’s also real is the disappointment to see something as sacred and as special as I thought was the relationship I had with my kids’ father and see that turned into something vulgarised and cheapened by the media.”
The couple had been together for more than 11 years, having started dating in 2010. The pair has two children together. They first met at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, when Gerard was featured in the music video for Shakira’s Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – the tournament’s official song.
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