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Soprano Montserrat Caballé avoids trial for tax fraud with a €240,000 fine

The world famous opera singer Montserrat Caballé reached on Tuesday a prejudicial agreement to avoid trial for tax fraud committed in 2010. The Catalan soprano, aged 81, admitted that her fiscal residence was not set in the fiscal haven of Andorra that year and therefore had evaded paying taxes to the Spanish authorities. Caballé, who is considered one of the greatest sopranos ever by both critics and fans alike, accepted the Public Prosecution’s petition of a 6-month jail sentence and a €240,000 fine, which corresponds to almost half of the evaded money. Since the jail sentence is shorter than 2 years and Caballé has no criminal record, she will not have to be imprisoned. The fine is to be added to the €508,000 she already deposited in the spring to compensate the Spanish Tax Agency. On top of this, she will still have to pay €75,000, corresponding to the interest on the money evaded.

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23 December 2014 07:46 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The world-famous opera singer Montserrat Caballé reached on Tuesday a prejudicial agreement to avoid trial for tax fraud committed in 2010. The Catalan soprano, aged 81, admitted that her fiscal residence was not set in the fiscal haven of Andorra that year and therefore had evaded paying taxes to the Spanish authorities. Caballé, who is considered one of the greatest sopranos ever by both critics and fans alike, accepted the Public Prosecution’s petition of a 6-month jail sentence and a €240,000 fine, which corresponds to almost half of the evaded money. Since the jail sentence is shorter than 2 years and Caballé has no criminal record, she will not have to be imprisoned. The fine is to be added to the €508,000 she already deposited in the spring to compensate the Spanish Tax Agency. On top of this, she will still have to pay €75,000, corresponding to the interest on the money evaded, which will make the total payment reach €823,000.


The Spanish tax authorities accused Caballé of evading €508,000 in her 2010 tax declaration by stating that her fiscal residence was set in Andorra that year. The Spanish tax authorities argued that the Barcelona-born soprano did not live in Andorra for most of the year and that her fiscal residence was in fact in Spain. Caballé argued the contrary, saying that she was often travelling to Barcelona for doctor appointments and to take flights from Barcelona El Prat Airport to attend professional commitments, while she was living in Andorra. Furthermore, the Spanish Tax Agency argued that in 2010, Caballé had earned €2 million for a series of recordings, while she declared having earned only €300,000 for this work.

The Spanish Tax Agency brought the case to the Public Prosecution Office for Fiscal Offenses, who pressed charges against the soprano. Since the tax evasion is an offence against the general interest and the Spanish State’s revenue, the Spanish Government’s legal services were also involved and formally accused Caballé of tax fraud. Earlier this year, Caballé had already accepted to pay what the Spanish Tax Agency said was missing from her 2010 declaration: €508,000. She paid €308,000 in April and a further €200,000 in May. However, her criminal prosecution was still ongoing, since authorities were demanding both a fine and a jail sentence.

Finally, the parties have reached the agreement announced this Tuesday, by which Caballé accepts the demands of the Public Prosecution: 6 months of prison time and a €240,000 fine. In addition, the Spanish Tax Agency has calculated that the Catalan soprano has to pay an additional amount of €75,000, corresponding to interest on the money evaded and for not having paid the €508,000 on time. Therefore, in total, Caballé will have paid a total of €823,000 and will not have to go to jail because she has no previous criminal record. Such an agreement will be confirmed in the next few months before a judge, but Caballé will not have to go on trial.

One of the greatest sopranos ever

Caballé started her career in the mid-1950’s, becoming one of the main sopranos in Basel’s Opera. However, she reached full international recognition in the 1960’s, particularly when she debuted in New York’s Carnegie Hall. Having one of the greatest voices ever, both powerful and delicate, and being extremely technically gifted, many experts were already comparing her to Maria Callas. Furthermore, she played a number of roles in a great range of operas, showing the wide capacities of her vocal spectrum and technique. The Catalan soprano was considered the greatest opera diva alive during the 1970’s and 1980’s, and even sang some rock and pop pieces during her career. Her duet with Freddy Mercury ‘Barcelona’ became the unofficial anthem of the 1992 Olympics in the Catalan capital.

Caballé has been heavily involved with Barcelona’s Liceu opera theatre and was particularly active in raising funds for its reconstruction after it burnt down in 1994. Due to her unique voice and outstanding technique, Caballé has never fully retired, but her health and age have significantly limited her number of performances in the last few years and her concerts have been very few. In the last few years, Caballé has been vocal concerning her political views, supporting the prominence of Spanish language over the rest of the languages in Spain (including Catalan) and criticising Catalonia’s pro-independence movement.

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  • Montserrat Caballé singing in Peralada Festival in 2012, when she was 79 (by ACN)

  • Montserrat Caballé singing in Peralada Festival in 2012, when she was 79 (by ACN)