Shakira's lawyer: falling in love with Sergio Ramos rather than Piqué 'would have been cheaper'

Pau Molins criticizes tax differences between Spanish regions

Shakira and her lawyer Pau Molins, before entering Barcelona's court on November 20, 2023
Shakira and her lawyer Pau Molins, before entering Barcelona's court on November 20, 2023 / Job Vermeulen
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

November 21, 2023 12:40 PM

November 21, 2023 04:15 PM

Shakira's lawyer, Pau Molins, criticized the significant tax differences between different Spanish regions during an interview with Catalan private radio station Rac 1 on Tuesday morning.

The Colombian pop singer's lawyer says falling in love with former Real Madrid football club player Sergio Ramos rather than former FC Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué "would have been cheaper."

"Falling in love cost her €120 million," Molins added, referring to the fact that three out of the six tax frauds Shakira faced are not considered crimes in Madrid. That's in part because there are no wealth taxes there. 

"Everyone is always talking about equality between Spaniards, but if you live in Catalonia, you can go to jail for a crime that, in Madrid, wouldn't even send you to trial," Molins said. 

Shakira settled her tax fraud case on Monday morning after the trial started. She was facing charges for defrauding the state €14.5 million in taxes between 2012 and 2014. The singer paid a fine of €7 million and around €432,000 to avoid three years in prison. 

Molins also criticized the judicial process because it was considered a penal trial even though his client "did not have any plan to defraud the tax office." 

"One of our arguments was that she did not have any knowledge of spending over 183 days in Spain," Molins explained, referring to the minimum number of days one has to spend in Spain in order to pay taxes here.

The settlement was a request by Shakira so she could focus on her children and her career. Even though she felt "ready to defend [her] innocence," she wrote in a statement, she did not consider it a "triumph if they steal so many years of your time."

Molins also complained that the settlement was made immediately available to the press, since the deal was reached beforehand to "avoid having to see the defendant on the bench." 

Spain’s system needs changing 

The singer and prosecution had already reached a deal months ago, but Shakira decided to step aside as she considered the sitaution "abusive." She defended her innocence and said she had already paid over €17 million to the tax office.

Shakira was accused of saying that she used to reside outside of Spain when she was already living with her former partner, ex footballer Gerard Piqué, in Barcelona. The court considered the artist to have lived in Catalonia between 2012 and 2014 and, therefore, should have paid taxes in Spain. 

The prosecution and the Spanish tax authorities said that Shakira created several companies in tax havens, such as The Netherlands, Malta, Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands, the US, Panamá, Caiman Islands, and also in Barcelona and Madrid, to avoid paying taxes despite living for more than half a year in Spain. The judge, before the court case started, believed that the singer did not pay taxes in 2012, despite living in the territory for 243 days, in 2013, when she spent 212 days in Spain, and in 2014, when Shakira stayed for 244 days.  

The law stipulates that residents who live in Spain for 183 days or more must pay tax. The judge had considered the other days "sporadic absences," therefore the pop star avoided paying €12.3 million in IRPF taxes and around €2.2 million in wealth taxes. 

Before the court case started, Shakira’s lawyers said that she had no more debt with the Spanish tax agency as she had already paid the requested €17.3 million that she owed. She paid "as soon as she learned the figure she had to pay to tax authorities," the lawyers explained. 

Meanwhile, Shakira defends that the “Spanish system needs to be revised for the good of citizens. I will continue to battle for this,” she said in writing. 

2011 case 

The singer will continue to fight a 2011 case as “it does not make any sense” because she was not a resident and "the tax office forced [her] to pay all my tour’s work,” Shakira said. 

“The year 2011 was a year that I did not have any relationship with Spain. I found myself breaking up with my ten-year partner, with whom I used to live in the Bahamas, and I came to Spain very sporadically,” she added. 

Shakira claims she spent 70 days in Spain in 2011, and hopes the judicial system can separate the two court cases. 

“The decision to settle is based on personal and emotional reasons, and not because of any judicial reasons,” she said. 

The singer is also being investigated in a separate case for allegedly defrauding €5.8 million of personal income tax and wealth tax in 2018.