Hacienda knows more about Shakira than any journalist. With a fan’s devotion and a detective’s acumen, Inspector Susana C. has rebuilt her life. She stripped her of economic empire. And put her on the ropes for defrauding 14.5 million.
The inspector dived into the daily life of the Colombian singer. She showed that Shakira did not live in the Bahamas but in Spain. Therefore, she had to pay her taxes here. She knows that Shakira received private French lessons. Also, that her Zumba teacher was called Betsie. She knows Shakira went to the hairdresser twice a week. That her expenses at El Corte Inglés, restaurants and hotels were paid with American Express credit cards. She even knows that she gave birth in the Teknon clinic under the pseudonym Sila Prieto.
Shakira spent -between 2012 and 2014- more than half a year in Spain. 184 days, the minimum to be considered a tax resident.
Shakira’s real name is Isabel Mebarak Ripoll. Susana C calls her other name: “the taxpayer”. After starting his relationship with Gerard Piqué, she anchored in Spain. First, they rented a house to swimmer David Meca. Then, he settled in a central street in Barcelona with the Barça center-back. In the end, both bought a house at the height of their heritage. Located in an exclusive neighborhood of Esplugues, near the Barça sports city.
As the best Colombo, Susana C. has followed the singer’s track everywhere.
“clinics, beauty centers, recording studios, promotional events, clothing and decoration stores”.
She has also tracked her networks. Her artist’s fan clubs are dedicated to tagging her wherever she goes. Those fans have become, in spite of themselves, one more proof of the alleged tax fraud. In 2011, she was located 60 times in Spain. Many more than in any of the 37 countries in the world she visited that year. None of them, by the way, were Bahamas.
The battle of Nassau
The Caribbean island occupies a central place in this story. The inspector denounces Shakira’s “null collaboration”. Shakira states that she did not live in Spain until the end of 2014. Then, she was already the mother of her first child, Milan. The artist said that until then she resided in a house bought in Nassau for 1.1 million dollars. She provided as evidence a permanent residence permit granted by the Bahamas in 2007. But Susana C. did not yield. She showed that the only requirement to obtain that certificate is to buy a house. The more expensive, the better.
“if it exceeds a certain amount, the procedures are accelerated”.
The dispute at the headquarters of the Tax Agency was intense. Shakira contributed in expenses for electricity, water and cable television for the Nassau house. It turned out these services were paid by a company and not consumed.
There were employees who looked after the farm. Her ex-boyfriend and ex-manager, Antonio de la Rúa, lent a hand to the inspector without intending to. The love between the two ended in 2010. Shakira met Piqué while recording the video for Waka-waka. After being removed from business, De la Rúa sued her in New York. He claimed 100 million euros for helping to create “the Shakira brand.” The inspector obtained her judicial statement. She stated that she was going to stay in the Bahamas house. Also, that she “sent her assistants to collect her belongings.”
Residence in the Bahamas!
The bureaucracy gives clues of the artificial residence in the Bahamas. It had a mere fiscal purpose, because there is no tax. In Spain, we have the world taxation… However, it is the personal sphere that allows you to see the complete puzzle. The inspector presumes that she has “identified the entire intimate nucleus” of Shakira. Her parents and siblings, her assistants, and the director of the Pies Descalzos Foundation. American accountants, stylists, producers, and friends. Even her trusted doctor in Colombia. All of them visited her in Barcelona. Most came expressly from the United States.
“If she really resided in the Bahamas, it was much easier for them to visit her there.”
Her hairdresser, doctor and photographer
Not a single day did Shakira visit her island in that period. Nor has it provided evidence that she did so. She is not linked to the Bahamas by “no professional, family, personal or social ties.” Shakira traveled all over the world to give concerts. She shoot commercials and made photoshoots. Also,She recorded The Voice for several weeks in the United States. However, Treasury considers them “sporadic absences.” When work (and leisure) end, it’s time to go home. Her destination was always Barcelona. Susana C faced the challenge of proving that she spent half the year in Spain. The minimum to consider her a tax resident.
Hacienda obtained the singer’s client file from an aesthetic center in Sarrià. She researched on the days she went to visit the Teknon clinic. Likewise she, asked Getty Images, the agency that photographs her, where was she. Also, she got specific dates and images. She obtained data on the concerts organized by Live Nation. Also, she learned which days she rented and used the Mandinga recording studio. And, she spoke with Codorniu to find out the recording dates of a video clip with Maná. It was at the Cavas Rondel del Penedès (Barcelona).Also, She learned from her hairdresser that she did her hair at Esplugues’ house. It was twice a week and she did it for free. And,she went to the children’s elite school. They informed Susana that the mother takes them in the morning. She also goes “regularly” to meetings.
Credit cards have also been essential. Her brother Antonio and three of her assistants spent 418,046 euros in 279 establishments in Barcelona. The payments correspond to services that they used being USA residents. But especially the singer: restaurants, pharmacies, taxis, hotels… A payment document from the Santo Mauro hotel in Madrid. It was paid with a collaborator’s card. But it literally says: “Shakira payd”.
The result of this detective work is a detailed calendar of Shakira’s life. Hacienda tries to show that she was always in Barcelona. SE did not stop traveling: Take 2012 as an example.
- Attended the Ballon d’Or gala, the NRJ Awards in Cannes
- Recorded a spot for Puig in South Africa
- Escaped to Italy with Piqué
- Went to California to record Addicted to You
- Attended the Summit of the Americas in Colombia
- Visited her family in Miami
- Accompanied Piqué to the Euro Cup in Poland
- Recorded auditions for The Voice in the United States
- Gave a concert in Azerbaijan.
- Spent August away from the cameras at her in-laws’ house, in Cabrils,Barcelona
The great escape
A similar analysis is valid for other years. The inspector rebuilt Shakira’s world empire. A structure of up to 14 companies
“without material or human resources”
Some in tax havens. These only served to hide the true owner of the millionaire profits: Shakira. The first clue of the opaque structure was given by Antonio de la Rúa.
The key year is 2008. Shakira transfers her image rights to a company in the British Virgin Islands. They transfer it (for one euro!) to another in Luxembourg. This company guarantees Shakira 300 million in 10 years. The first tour with these conditions is Sale el Sol. The singer reaches an agreement with the Luxembourg authorities to pay a 2% tax. The near-net proceeds then “flow” back to the British Virgin Islands. From there, to a Cayman Islands partnership. Carpe Diem, and into the singer’s pocket.
The Treasury concludes. Shakira defrauded the personal income tax and equity for four years. It was closed with an act of disagreement. The singer paid 24 million euros (the defrauded fee). This to regularize before claiming to the Tax Agency. The inspectors did take the fraud of 2012, 2013 and 2014 to the Prosecutor’s Office. In those three years, she pocketed 34.9 million Euros. She stopped paying the treasury 14.5. The Prosecutor’s Office sued her. The singer is now charged with six tax crimes. Last summer, Shakira testified before the judge and said she did not live in Spain. She claimed that did not live in any particular place. She was from here to there… a “nomad without roots”.
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