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Shakira Settles $15 Million Tax Fraud Case on First Day of Trial

Shakira has agreed to a last-minute settlement in her $15 million tax fraud case on the opening day of her trial in Barcelona, reports The Associated Press.

The Colombia-born pop star told the presiding magistrate, José Manuel del Amo, that she accepted an agreement with prosecutors, in which she answered “yes” to confirm her acknowledgment of six counts of failing to pay the Spanish government €14.5 million (or about $15.8 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.

Under the agreement, Shakira will receive a suspended three-year sentence and pay a fine of €7.3 million ($8 million). In exchange for the suspended sentence, she will pay another fine of €432,000 ($472,000).

In a statement issued to Billboard, Shakira said she was prepared to defend her innocence during the trial, but decided to put the “best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight.”

She continued, “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, both of which I am extremely excited about. 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 trial was set to include testimony from more than 100 witnesses over the following weeks, but was called off in just eight minutes. In July 2022, prosecutors said they would seek a prison sentence of eight years and two months and a fine of €24 million ($26 million) after Shakira rejected a settlement deal.

The case hinged on Shakira’s place of residence between 2012 and 2014, with prosecutors claiming she lived more than half of each year in Spain and thus should have paid taxes in the country — despite listing her official residence as the Bahamas.

In November 2022, Shakira’s defense team claimed that she hadn’t spent more than 60 days per year in Spain during that period; instead, she was away on a world tour in 2011 and then was a coach on the US version of The Voice.

Shakira’s public relations team previously said in September 2022 that the artist had already paid the amount she was said to owe, along with €3 million in interest.

The singer has two children, Milan and Sasha, with FC Barcelona star Gerard Piqué. They lived together in Barcelona before ending their 11-year relationship in June 2022.

However, Shakira’s legal troubles with the Spanish tax office aren’t over. She still faces two additional cases of alleged tax fraud on her 2018 income.