Spanish prosecutors have charged pop music star Shakira with tax evasion, alleging she failed to pay more than 2.28 Billion PKR ($22.83 million) between 2012 and 2014.
The Colombian singer, who has denied the charges, is alleged to have listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes during those years but was in fact living in Spain with her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique.
Tax rates are much lower in the Bahamas than in Spain.
A statement from Shakira’s representatives on Friday claimed the singer was not a legal resident in Spain during the years in question and owed nothing to the Spanish tax authorities, who are using her “as a scapegoat” to frighten other taxpayers into coming clean.
Under Spanish law, spending more than six months in a year in the country makes a person a resident for tax purposes.
Prosecutors in Barcelona have said Shakira’s travel abroad was for short periods because of professional commitments, while most of the year she stayed in Spain.
Authorities now want her to pay tax in Spain on her worldwide income and a magistrate will assess whether there is enough evidence to put Shakira on trial.
Shakira officially moved to Spain for tax purposes in 2015, after having two children by Pique.
Prosecutors are asking Shakira to pay a bond of 3.05 Billion PKR ($30.55 million), the amount they say she owes in tax, plus 33 per cent, in accordance with Spanish law.
Otherwise, they recommend a court freeze of her assets to that amount.
Shakira was named in the “Paradise Papers” leaks that detailed the offshore tax arrangements of numerous high-profile individuals, including musical celebrities like Madonna and U2’s Bono.
The documents were obtained by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and investigated by Spanish news website El Confidencial.
Spain’s tax authorities first referred their probe into Shakira to the Barcelona prosecutor’s office a year ago.
Shakira isn’t the first celebrity to find herself in trouble with Spanish tax authorities, with soccer stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo previously facing charges.