Colombian pop star Shakira has reached a deal with Spanish prosecutors to settle her tax fraud case, just as her trial is set to begin.
The singer has already paid a fine of €7.5 million (£6.5 million) – prosecutors want to jail him for eight years and fine him €23.8 million (£20.8 million) if found guilty.
He faces charges of tax fraud totaling €14.5m (£12.7m) in a Barcelona court.
Shakira, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, said she resolved the matter “in the best interests of my children”.
In a lengthy statement, he said his children “do not want to see their mother sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight”.
The perpetrator previously rejected the deal offered by the prosecutor and instead chose to go to trial.
“Throughout my career, I have always tried to do what is right and set a positive example for others,” he said.
“Unfortunately, and despite these efforts, the tax authorities in Spain continued to file cases against me as they do against many professional athletes and other high-profile individuals, thereby draining these people of their energy, time and sobriety for years.
“While I am determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my attorneys are confident will rule in my favor, I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter in the best interests of my children who do not want to see their mother sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight.”
She added that she needed to “get past the stress and emotional burden of the past few years and focus on the things I love – my children and all the opportunities that will come in my career”.
Disputes regarding residence
At the heart of the dispute is Shakira’s residency status between 2012 and 2014, when prosecutors alleged that she lived in Spain but registered her legal residence elsewhere.
Under Spanish law, people who spend more than six months in the country are considered residents for tax purposes. But Shakira said Spain was not where she lived at that time.
In July, prosecutors released documents claiming that he bought a house in Barcelona in 2012, which became a family home for him and his partner, Barcelona footballer Gerard Piqué.
His lawyer said that until 2014 most of his income came from international touring and he spent a lot of time outside Spain.
“The Spanish tax authorities saw me dating a Spanish citizen and started salivating. It was clear they wanted to go after the money, no matter what,” she told Elle magazine.
Shakira declared Spain her residence for tax purposes in 2015. She said she had paid €17.2m (£15m) in taxes and had no debts.
In a separate case in 2019, Piqué was fined €2.1 million (£1.8 million) by Spain’s national court for evading tax between 2008 and 2010.
The couple announced in early June that they were separating after 11 years. They have two sons together, aged seven and nine.