A Spanish judge on Tuesday approved a trial for Colombian pop singer Shakira on charges of tax fraud.
Spanish prosecutors accused the entertainer in 2018 of failing to pay €14.5 million ($21.5 million) in taxes on income earned between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison sentence and a hefty fine if she is found guilty of tax evasion.
Shakira, 45, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and rejected a deal with authorities to avoid going to trial. Her public relations firm has said that she has already paid all that she owed and an additional €3 million ($4.6 million) in interest.
READ MORE: Eva Mendes is ‘incredibly honoured’ to be announced ambassador for McDonald’s McHappy Day for second time
The court based in the town of Esplugues de Llobregat near Barcelona said that Shakira will face six counts of tax fraud. The date for the trial has yet to be set.
The case hinges on where Shakira lived during 2012-14. Prosecutors in Barcelona have alleged the Grammy winner spent more than half of that period in Spain and should have paid taxes in the country, even though her official residence was in the Bahamas.
READ MORE: Olivia Newton-John’s family hold ‘very private’ memorial service one month after her death
Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has been linked to Spain since she started dating soccer player Gerard Pique.
The couple, who have two children, used to live together in Barcelona but earlier this year ended their 11-year relationship.
Addressing the split for the first time in a recent interview with Elle, the 45-year-old told the magazine it was hard breaking up in the public eye.
“I’ve remained quiet and just tried to process it all,” she said
“It’s hard to talk about it, especially because I’m still going through it, and because I’m in the public eye and because our separation is not like a regular separation.”
The singer, who is mum to sons Milan, nine, and Sasha, seven, said she’s tried to keep her kids shielded through it all.
“I’ve tried to conceal the situation in front of my kids,” she said. “But then they hear things in school from their friends or they come across some disagreeable, unpleasant news online, and it just affects them, you know?”
Shakira did not address her ex’s rumoured new relationship, with PR student Clara Chía, instead saying the last few months have been “the darkest hour of my life”.
Adding to her current woes is the case.
Spain has cracked down on soccer stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo over the past decade for not paying their full due in taxes.
They were found guilty of evasion but both avoided prison time thanks to a provision that allows a judge to waive sentences under two years in length for first-time offenders.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, subscribe to our newsletter here.