Shakira may face eight-year jail term if convicted over alleged tax fraud

Spain’s authorities have accused the Colombia-born singer of failing to pay an estimated £12.2m in taxes

Shakira attends a screening at the Cannes film festival in May

Shakira attends a screening at the Cannes film festival in May

Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Shakira could face eight years behind bars for alleged tax fraud if convicted in a case Spanish prosecutors built partly on visits to her Barcelona hairdressers.

Spain’s authorities have accused the 45-year-old Colombia-born singer of failing to pay an estimated €14.5 million (£12.2 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.

Prosecutors are also seeking a €24 million fine from the singer.

Shakira claims she did not live in Spain for the period 2012-2014 period the charges relate to.

The singer listed her official domicile at the time as the Bahamas, where tax rates are considerably lower than in Spain.

However, prosecutors maintain she was living in Barcelona with her then partner Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué and their two children, while venturing abroad when performing.

They investigated receipts from the hairdresser, Jordi Ripoli as well as her social media accounts to prove her residency in Barcelona.

Prosecutors allege she lived in Spain for at least 183 days a year, the threshold for tax liability.

Shakira with Gerard Pique in Barcelona in 2015

The trial is expected to go ahead after Shakira, whose real name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, rejected a settlement proposed by prosecutors.

Last year a Spanish judge said there was “sufficient evidence of criminality” for a trial to take place.

Shakira’s publicists insist that she has always fulfilled her tax obligations, adding that the artist has deposited the amount she is said to owe, including €3 million in interest.

Her spokesman added that Shakira “trusts her innocence and chooses to leave the issue in the hands of the law”.

The singer was named in the “Paradise Papers”, leaked documents which laid out the offshore tax arrangements of a number of high-profile individuals.

Other musical celebrities identified in the papers included Madonna and U2’s Bono.

The papers were obtained by the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and investigated by the Spanish news website El Confidencial.

Other celebrities, including footballers Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, have also fallen foul of the Spanish tax authorities.