Shakira has paid the Spanish tax agency more than 20 million euros (almost 25 million dollars) in back taxes, according to multiple reports in Spanish media.
According to a story first reported in Barcelona’s El Periodico newspaper on Monday (Feb. 26), and quickly picked up by other major media in Spain, the Latin music star paid that amount to partly settle a debt claimed by the tax agency in an ongoing investigation into the possibility of tax fraud.
The investigation, reports the Spanish press, centers on whether she did or did not reside in Spain between 2011 and 2014, according to the legal definition of residence. Spanish law stipulates that if she spent at least 183 days in Spain she is considered a fiscal resident of the country and must pay taxes on all of her global income to the Spanish tax agency. (If she spent less time in Spain, she would be required to pay taxes only on the money she earned working inside the country.)
According to El Periodico and similar reports in El Pais and other newspapers, Shakira filed her taxes as if she spent the better part of those years in the Bahamas, rather than living with her partner, Barcelona Futbol Club soccer player Gerard Pique, in the Esplugues de Llobregat area of Barcelona. The couple’s relationship went public in 2011 with photos of them together in Barcelona; the first of their two sons was born in a Barcelona hospital in 2013.
In a response to investigators, according to documents cited by El Periodico and El Pais, Shakira’s defense said that she was away from Spain during most of the time in the cited years, and that most of her income came from abroad. In addition, she maintained that she had not attempted to willfully hide her income, and characterized the issue as one of “a difference in criteria.”
Last November, Shakira’s name appeared in the “Paradise Papers,” leaked files that revealed the offshore financial dealings of celebrities, politicians and corporations. That information, obtained by the the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, revealed that Shakira declared the Bahamas, where she reportedly owns a home, as her fiscal residence, and that money from the rights to her music is administered in countries known as tax havens, like Malta and Luxembourg.
According to the Spanish newspapers, Shakira paid the 20 million plus euros for the debt that the Spanish government said it was owed only for the year 2011. The investigation into Shakira’s fiscal activity for 2012-2014 is ongoing.
Previous press reports detailed the Spanish officials’ investigation into Shakira’s residence, which included questioning her hairdresser, and offered the constant photos taken of Shakira by paparazzi at different times in Barcelona, captured outside the house she shares with Pique, and in various stages of pregnancy, as proof of her residence in the Catalan capital.
Sources close to the investigation indicate that there is enough proof to demonstrate that Shakira maintained her residence in those years in Spain, according to El Periodico. When the investigation is completed, the paper reported, the Barcelona district attorney and Spanish Tax Agency are expected to announce whether or not the case will proceed to court on tax fraud charges.
Billboard has reached out to a representative for Shakira for comment.