Shakira to appear in court for questioning over alleged £12.5million tax fraud in Spain



Pop star Shakira has been summonsed to court to be quizzed over an alleged multi-million pound tax fraud.

The mother-of-two partner of Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique has been told to appear before a Spanish judge in Espluegues de Llobregat near the Catalan capital on June 12.

The hearing will take place behind closed doors, as is normal in Spain where only trials are held in public.

Colombian-born Shakira, 42, is being investigated on suspicion of committing six separate counts of tax fraud against the Spanish Treasury totalling more than £12.5 million ($23 million AUD).

Spanish state prosecutors accused her of the fraud in December, saying they believed she had pretended to live abroad and use an existing complex offshore corporate structure to avoid meeting her tax obligations from 2012 to 2014 – despite starting a relationship with former Manchester United defender Pique in 2011 and moving to Barcelona.

Shakira, previously tax resident in the Bahamas, only registered as a full tax resident in Spain in 2015. Official residents in Spain pay Spanish taxes on their worldwide income.

People who spent more than 183 days in a given calendar year in Spain are considered Spanish residents for tax purposes.

Tax inspectors spent more than a year checking up on Shakira, even visiting her favourite hairdressers in Barcelona and checking her social media to try to show she spent most of the three years in dispute in Spain.

Spanish media have previously claimed the report prosecutors submitted along with their criminal complaint offered no proof Shakira had spent enough time in the country to be considered a tax resident.

But it alleged the rest of the time she spent out of Spain were ‘sporadic absences’ resulting from work commitments, an argument the singer’s defence lawyers are understood to disagree with and are expected to fight.

Shakira has been unable to stop the case getting to court despite paying the £12.5million prosecutors say she defrauded at the start of last year.