Colombian singer Shakira (Isabel Mebarak Ripoll) will finally go to trial for allegedly having defrauded the Tax Agency of 14.5 million euros between the years 2012 and 2014. The court of Section 10 of the Barcelona Court has endorsed the decision of the investigating judge of Esplugues de Llobregat who considered completed the investigation and concluded that there were “sufficient indications” to continue the process for the commission of crimes against the Public Treasury. The magistrates have now dismissed the appeal filed by the artist’s defense, a golden opportunity she had to get rid of the accusation.
From this moment, the clock comes into play again. The prosecution must present its indictment, as well as the State Attorney, which represents the interests of the Treasury. Afterwards, the matter will go to the defense, which will present its arguments to obtain an acquittal. In this type of matter, it is very possible that before the trial takes place (or even minutes before it begins) an agreement will be reached so that a consent sentence is issued, which would considerably reduce the sentence. The problem is that the fine that could be imposed on Shakira would be large. A fact in her favor: she has already deposited the amount of the debt with the Treasury, that is, 14.5 million, and has regularized her situation before the Tax Agency.
Shakira’s legal team It maintains that the dismissal of the appeal “is simply one more step in the process that now continues along its usual course.” He stresses that his lawyers “will continue to defend his innocence”, as they have been doing until now, through “the presentation of weighty legal arguments”, evidence and expert reports. In her opinion, “Shakira’s behavior in tax matters has always been impeccable in all the countries” in which she has had to pay taxes and she “has trusted and followed” the criteria of the experts.
The Court, on the other hand, has considered the appeal presented by the tax advisor of the singer Ezequiel Camerini, defended by the lawyers Cristóbal Martell, Arnau Xumetra and Diego Artacho, so the case is filed for him. The resolution argues that there is no record that this advisor had “direct knowledge” of the time that the singer remained in Spanish territory, nor of the role of the companies investigated in “the concealment of income” from the Treasury, despite the fact that he is formally recorded as director, president or secretary of some of them.
The debate about his residence in Spain
The order of the Court underlines that the data contained in the case shows that the singer was a habitual resident in Spain since 2012 and remained in the country the minimum of 183 days a year that requires paying taxes to the Spanish Treasury. , apart from “occasional, punctual or sporadic” outings, as the prosecution maintains. The defense, on the other hand, defends the opposite: what was sporadic were her stays in Spain. That is where the legal debate lies. For the magistrates, the photographs that the investigated herself posted on social networks, her plane tickets or the payments made by people at her service are “suitable means” to prove her presence in Spain. “That is, it is not so relevant when she paid for the clinic, but when she was visited,” specifies the resolution. The judges do not consider an exculpatory fact that the artist has provided a certificate of tax residence in the Bahamas.
The prosecution alleges in its complaint that Shakira lived “habitually” between 2012 and 2014 in Spain, first in a house in Barcelona and then in a house in Esplugues de Llobregat, which was acquired together with her partner, Gerard Piqué. Her stays outside of Spain, according to her accusation, during that time were “for professional reasons”, with a very short duration, with the exception of the United States, where she participated in the program ‘La Voz’.