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Judge recommends Shakira face trial for tax evasion in Spain

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Singer Shakira could be facing a tax fraud investigation in Spain. During a three-year investigation of the Colombian singer, who has a home in Barcelona, Judge Marco Juberías found “sufficient evidence of criminality,” and recommended that her case go to trial, according to the Associated Press. 

In December 2019, Shakira was charged for not paying 14.5 million euros (about $16 million) in taxes between in 2012 and 2014, while she lived in Spain. The mom of two testified in January 2019 and denied any wrongdoing, the AP reports. 

At the time, her official residence was in Panama, according to the AP. However, according to the public prosecutor, she spent more than half the year and a day in Spain each year between 2012 and 2014, Spanish publication El Pais reports. 

Spending half of a year, plus the requisite one day, qualifies the 44-year-old as a resident and requires her to pay taxes for that year. Her public relations firm said that she had paid what she owed when informed of the debt by the Tax Office, the AP reports.

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Prosecutors argued that the singer and her partner, FC Barcelona player Gerard Piqué, spent most of their time in Spain, only leaving the country for professional commitments, BBC News reports.

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Spain has recently had several high-profile tax-dodging cases involving football players. In 2018 Marcelo Vieira, a defender for Real Madrid, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and was sentenced to four months in jail, according to BBC News. 

He was expected to serve less time because in Spain, a judge can waive prison time for first-time offenders if their sentence is less than two years in jail. Fellow players Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo have also faced allegations of tax fraud, according to BBC News. 

If Shakira’s case goes to trial, she could be sentenced with possible jail time if found guilty of tax evasion. She can also appeal the decision. 

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