Spanish Judge Recommends Shakira Stand Trial for Tax Fraud

Shakira's tax fraud case could lead the singer to trial. The Associated Press reported Thursday that a Spanish judge investigating the Colombian musician's alleged fraud recommended the case be taken to trial after concluding there was "sufficient evidence of criminality" in the accusations the pop star avoided her fiscal responsibilities to Spain.

The decision came after a three-year probe, in which Shakira was charged in December 2019 with not paying $16.4 million in taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014. The "Hips Don't Lie" singer is accused of living mostly in Spain, despite declaring her official residence as Panama, in an attempt to pay less in taxes. Shakira denied any wrongdoing in June 2019, and her representative said at the time she immediately paid what was owed once she learned of the debt.

In January 2018, sources close to the singer told Hollywood Life that Shakira was willing to face the "economic consequences of technical discrepancies with the inspection of Treasury," saying it was "a difference of criterion, not of fiscal concealment." If found guilty of tax evasion, Shakira faces a possible fine and jail time. A judge can waive prison time for first-time offenders if their sentence is fewer than two years, however.

Shakira is continuing on with her career despite the legal development, releasing her first solo song since 2017's El Dorado, "Don't Wait Up," on July 16. "I have to say, I'm very nervous because it's my first English song in a long time because I've been focusing on Spanish songs only lately," the star told Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. "But this song came about and I'm like, yeah, it's time. It's time to do this again and I'm happy, and I'm so inspired right now."

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Shakira called the song "heaven-sent," as she had been wanting to record a house track for a while. "This song is a song that I've been waiting to write and have for a long time," she said. "I feel that this, it was meant to be. ...It has been living inside of me in some sort of metaphysical way, and it just sort of materialized. But it's been there for a while. I've been looking for the song. I wanted a house song and this song has taken me through so many roads and it has taken me on an adventure, unexpected places."