Investigation: Spanish tax authorities search Shakira's accounts, accuses her of tax crime

Credit cards, hairdressers' bills, taxis… Everything has been combed with a fine comb by the Spanish tax authorities, tells El País, to prove that the Colombian singer had indeed resided in Spain, and not in the Bahamas, contrary to her statements. Shakira should answer to justice.

The tax inspector delved into the daily life of Colombian singer Shakira to demonstrate that she did not live in the Bahamas, but in Barcelona, ​​and therefore had to pay her taxes in Spain.

She knows that Shakira received private French lessons, that her zumba teacher was called Betsie, that she went to the hairdresser twice a week, that her expenses in restaurants and hotels were paid by her assistants with cards. American Express credit. She even knows that when she went to Teknon Clinic, where she gave birth to her two children, she did so under the pseudonym Sila Prieto.

Tireless like Colombo

The real name of the artist could also serve as a pseudonym: Shakira is actually Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, “the taxpayer” in the eyes of Inspector Susana C., convinced in her report - to which El País accessed - that 'in 2011, after starting her relationship with famous Barça player Gerard Piqué, she moved to Spain.

Tireless like Colombo, Susana C. has followed the singer’s trail in "clinics, beauty salons, recording studios, promotional events, clothing stores, decoration".

She has also combed the internet, including the artist's online fan clubs. These fans have become yet more evidence of alleged tax evasion, no offense to Shakira.

In 2011, her admirers spotted her 60 times in Spain, far more often than in any of the 37 countries in the world she has visited this year. And, in this case, the Bahamas was not one of them ...

A $ 1.1 million property in Nassau

The archipelago of the Antilles occupies a central place in this history. The inspector denounces “the total lack of collaboration” of Shakira, who insists on affirming, “without proof”, that she did not live in Spain until the end of 2014, when she was the mother of her first son (Milan) and pregnant with the second (Sasha).

Upon inspection, the artist said she had lived until then in a residence bought in Nassau for $ 1.1 million. To support her claim, she showed a permanent residence permit granted by the Bahamas in 2007.

But Inspector Susana C. didn't give in. She demonstrated that the only condition for obtaining this certificate was to purchase real estate; the more expensive it is, the better, "because above a certain amount, the process is accelerated".

The dispute at the tax office was intense. Shakira provided electricity, water and cable TV bills from the Nassau home. It turns out that these services were paid for by a company and were intended not for its consumption, but for that of the employees who looked after the residence.

The puzzle of the personal sphere

The tax authorities consider that this residence in the Bahamas was an “artifice”, which had a “purely fiscal purpose”. In fact, there is no tax there which, like in Spain, hits what you earn regardless of the country where you earn it (the technical, bombastic term is "world income").

But it is the personal sphere that puts the whole puzzle together. The Inspector claims to have "identified all of Shakira's inner circle": her parents and brothers, her assistants; American accountants, stylists, producers and friends. And even his trusted doctor in Colombia.

“Sporadic absences”

All of them, at one time or another in the period studied (2011-2014), visited him in Barcelona. Most of them came especially from the United States. “If she truly resided in the Bahamas,” the report reads, “it would have been much easier for them to visit her at her residence in Nassau.”

Shakira did not reside in the archipelago for a single day during this time. She also did not provide any evidence that she did, such as plane tickets. She has "no professional, family, personal or social ties in the Bahamas," said the inspector.

She has traveled all over the world to give concerts, shoot commercials and rest. But however long some of these trips were, the tax authorities consider them to be "sporadic absences".

Indeed, when work (and leisure) was over and it was time to go home, her destination was still Barcelona. However, Susana C. had one challenge to overcome: to demonstrate that Shakira spent half of the year plus a day in Spain, the minimum period to consider her as a tax resident.

The tax authorities obtained the singer's client file in a cosmetic center in Sarrià [Barcelona's heights district]. He managed to find out on which days she was admitted to Teknon Clinic. He asked Getty Images, the agency that often photographs his professional and personal life, where and on what day some photos were taken.

Credit cards share their secrets

The private school attended by the children confirmed that their mother was among the people accompanying them in the morning and that she "usually" attended parent-teacher meetings.

Credit cards have also revealed their secrets. Her brother Antonio - whom Shakira said during the inspection was "coordinator of the security teams" - and three of the singer's assistants have spent a whopping 418,046 euros in 279 establishments in Barcelona in four years. The payments correspond to the services they used (although they theoretically reside in the United States), but especially the singer: restaurants, pharmacies, taxis, hotels ...

An invoice from the Hotel Santo Mauro in Madrid, paid with a collaborator's card, says: “Shakira pays.”

This detective work produced a detailed timeline of Shakira's life, the very reading of which is exhausting. The tax authorities are trying to show that the singer's base camp has always been Barcelona, ​​even though she has never stopped traveling.

The inspector rebuilt Shakira's world empire: a structure of no less than 14 companies “without material or human resources”, some located in tax havens and which only served to obscure the true identity of the winner. all those millions, namely Shakira.

The tax authorities concluded that Shakira had defrauded her income and her assets for four years. His year of highest income, 2011, cannot be taken into account by the courts, because there is limitation.

The singer had to pay 24 million euros (the amount of the fraud) to regularize her situation, before she could file a claim with the tax authorities.

A “nomad without roots”?

The inspectors, however, took legal action for the frauds of 2012, 2013 and 2014. During these three years, the singer pocketed 34.9 million euros, on which she should have paid 14.5 million.

The prosecutor's office filed a complaint and the singer is now charged with six tax crimes. Last summer, Shakira was heard by the judge and she told her the same thing as before to the inspector: she did not live in Spain, she did not live in any particular country, she came and went, she was a “rootless nomad”.

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