Tax Fraud in Spain – Shakira Under Investigation For Offshore Tax Fraud
Tax fraud is an illegal act in which someone misrepresents themselves and transfers assets to others with the purpose of defrauding. This type of offense in Spain carries serious repercussions and may lead to jail time depending on how severe the case.
Colombian singer Shakira is being investigated for allegedly failing to pay more than 14.5 million euros in taxes between 2012 and 2014. These allegations follow those leveled against other celebrities like soccer players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as German footballer Mesut Ozil who is currently facing trial following a tax fraud probe.
Shakira is a Colombian singer-songwriter who has earned multiple Grammy awards and toured the world with her hits. She’s married to Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique and shares two children with him.
She currently resides in Spain and owns two homes there, according to Spanish media reports. She has denied the charges against her and is appealing to a magistrate to decide whether or not she will go on trial.
Mascherano’s case is the latest in a string of high-profile prosecutions opened by Spanish authorities. Recently, they have been cracking down on tax evasion, particularly targeting sports stars – according to one report Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi and his father have been charged with avoiding paying taxes of EUR4.1 million between 2007 and 2009.
Due to the Paradise Papers leak, which exposed many prominent personalities’ tax arrangements, such as Madonna and Bono of U2, Shakira is facing prosecution in Spain for alleged offshore tax evasion. She is accused of falsely declaring her residence in Spain while actually living there.
According to El Pais’ report, Mascherano may have avoided paying taxes on his image rights from Nike through Lofer, a Miami-based company. According to the report, more than one-third of Mascherano’s back taxes owed are related to this income.
It is unclear when this business was formed, but reports indicate it was in 2010, and he failed to pay taxes until one year after incorporation. Furthermore, reports indicate he used an island in the Caribbean as a tax haven.
He was able to make the payment based on legal counsel’s advice, though. A source told local media this could work in his favor if he is found guilty of tax fraud.
Mascherano could face fines and a prison sentence of up to one year if found guilty of tax fraud. He may also be ordered to repay any restitution amounts that he owes, though the exact amount depends on the level of damages.
The Spanish government has passed Law 11/2021 (dated 9 July 2021, which entered into force on July 11, 2021) to combat tax fraud. This legislation harmonizes existing exit tax and controlled foreign company rules with those established under the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive, an important move designed to address both Spain’s ongoing economic difficulties and recent wave of cases involving prominent individuals involved in tax evasion investigations.