Shakira, Colombian superstar and wife to FC Barcelona defender Gerald Pique, went to a court near Barcelona on Thursday to be questioned over the alleged evasion of 14.5 million euros ($16.3 million) in taxes.
The 42-year-old singer avoided dozens of reporters, photographers and television cameras at the courthouse in Esplugues de Llobregat by entering via the garage.
The hearing of the performer, one of the biggest stars from Latin America who lives in Barcelona with footballer Pique and their two young sons, was due to start at 10:00 am local time (0800 GMT).
Prosecutors accuse her and one of her advisers of tax fraud after she allegedly failed to pay taxes in Spain despite being a resident between 2011 and 2014.
The case only covers the period from 2012 to 2014, however, as the timeframe to prosecute alleged tax offences in 2011 has expired.
Prosecutors say that while she moved to Spain in 2011 when her relationship with Pique was made public, her official tax residency remained in the Bahamas Islands until 2015 when she started paying taxes in Spain.
Her defence team, however, insists that until 2014 she earned most of her money in international tours and did not live more than six months a year in Spain — a prerequisite to be an official tax-paying resident in the country.
According to Spanish media, she has already paid back what she allegedly owes to tax authorities.
This is the second time in just over two months that Shakira has appeared in court in Spain after having denied allegations she and Colombian singer Carlos Vives plagiarised part of their Grammy award-winning hit “La Bicicleta.”
The Madrid court subsequently cleared her and Vives, saying there had been “no plagiarism whatsoever.”
Meanwhile, Shakira’s public relations firm says the Colombian pop musician has denied any wrongdoing when she testified before a judge as part of an investigation into her alleged tax evasion in Spain.
Prosecutors charged the singer in December for not paying 14.5 million euros ($NZ25 million) in taxes in Spain between 2012 and 2014, when she lived mostly in the country despite having an official residence in Panama.
Her public relations firm said In a statement released on Thursday that “Shakira has always, including in the period between 2011 and 2014, met her tax obligations in every country she has worked in.”
It adds that “as soon as she was informed of the amount that according to Spain’s Tax Office she should pay… Shakira paid that amount in its entirety.”
SOURCES: (AFP / Ee / Stuff)