The Spanish tax authorities have launched an investigation into the pop star Shakira for possible tax evasion during the three years before she officially relocated to Barcelona.
Central to the probe is the company the Colombian songstress set up in Malta, which had become a focus of attention in the Paradise Papers, which showed how she had relocated her intellectual property rights and brands to a company based in Malta in 2009.
At the heart of the matter is the fact that while Shakira had officially switched her country of residence from the Bahamas to Barcelona, where she lives with her partner Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique and the couple’s two sons, in 2015, Spanish tax authorities suspect the singer already lived in Barcelona between 2012 and 2014. As such, they suspect Shakira failed to pay income taxes in Spain, having been resident in that country at the time and not the Bahamas.
Spanish Prosecutor Jose Miguel Company said the tax authorities referred the probe to the Barcelona prosecutor’s office in December. He said a decision on whether to press charges or not is expected by mid-June.
Anna Forastier, a spokeswoman for auditing firm PwC, told the Associated Press that the company has been hired by Shakira for the investigation. She declined to disclose any details.
Shakira and Pique’s relationship dates back to 2011, when Shakira started frequenting Barcelona. Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, citing papers it obtained from offshore services providers through the Paradise Papers, reported that she had listed the Bahamas as her official residence until 2015.
If the probe finds wrongdoing, Shakira would engross a list of celebrities that have been in trouble with Spanish tax authorities, including footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
This newspaper had, back in 2013, revealed court documents that showed how Shakira’s business empire was being run through a Malta-based company addressed at SmartCity.
The company, Tournesol Limited, was registered in Malta on 27 December in 2007. The company holds the rights to her musical assets, amounting to a value of some €32 million. The company’s authorised share capital is €3.02 million. Tournesol, in turn, owns a Luxemburg-based firm named ACE Entertainment.
A search of Malta’s Registry of Companies at the Malta Financial Services Authority yesterday still showed Shakira to be the 100 per owner of the company, and her listed address of residence as being in the Bahamas. Her actual address, in Nassau, is not being published for obvious reasons.
Original article found on The Malta Independent