"I owe zero to them", Shakira denies tax fraud accusation

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, a Colombian pop singer and dancer accused of avoiding US$14.31 million in taxes, has refuted the claim.

If found guilty, the leading artist may spend up to eight years in prison.

She claimed to have been living a nomadic lifestyle due to her employment between 2012 and 2014, but the Spanish court accused her of failing to pay taxes throughout that time.

During a recent interview, the singer responded to the charge.

The 45-year-old promised to battle the Spanish government, claiming the charges against her were untrue because she had paid 14.5 million euros ($14.31 million) in taxes.

"I have to fight for what I believe because these are false accusations, I owe zero to them," Shakira said.

She said that the law enforcement only pursued her aggressively after learning that she was dating Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona.

"While Gerard and I were dating, I was on a world tour. I spent more than 240 days outside Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident.

"The Spanish tax authorities saw that I was dating a Spanish citizen and started to salivate. It’s clear they wanted to go after that money no matter what," she said.

She went on to say that she had already paid the amount of money the Spanish tax office claimed she owed before they filed a lawsuit and that she was confident she had acted ethically and transparently from the start, implying that the Spanish government had used an improper press campaign to harm her reputation.

She was going through "perhaps the saddest hour of my life" due to her recent split with Pique, a custody dispute over their two kids, the condition of her father, and "fighting on many fronts," the singer claimed.

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