The inspector immersed herself in the day-to-day life of the Colombian singer in Barcelona to show that she did not live in the Bahamas but in Spain, and that is why she had to pay taxes in that country. He knows that Shakira took private French lessons, that the zumba teacher was called Betsie, that she went to the hairdresser twice a week, that the expenses of El Corte Inglés, restaurants and hotels were paid by the attendees with American credit cards. Express. He even knows that when he went to the Teknon clinic, where he had children, he did so under the pseudonym of Sila Prieto.
The artist’s real name is worth as much as a pseudonym: Shakira is Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, “the taxpayer”, according to Susana C., convinced in an extensive report qualwhich has acceded to THE COUNTRY― that in 2011, after starting the relationship with Gerard Piqué, he stayed in Spain. First he rented a house to the swimmer David Meca, then he settled in a central street of Barcelona with the central Barça and in the end they both bought a house to live up to their heritage in an exclusive neighborhood of Esplugues , near the sports city of Barça.
Like the best Colombo, Susana C. has followed the singer’s track in “clinics, beauty centers, recording studios, promotional events, clothing stores and decoration.” He has also tracked the networks, where the artist’s fan clubs – such as one called “I want to die” – are dedicated to labeling her wherever she goes. These fans have unwittingly become further 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 these, by the way, were in the Bahamas.
The battle of Nassau
The Caribbean island occupies a central place in this history. The inspector denounces the “no collaboration” of Shakira, who insists on stating “without evidence” that she did not live in Spain until the end of 2014, when she was already the mother of her first child (Milan) and was pregnant with the second (Shasha). On inspection, the artist said he had until then resided in a house bought in Nassau for $ 1.1 million. And he contributed
as proof a permanent residence permit granted by the Bahamas in 2007. But Susana C. did not yield. He showed that the only requirement to obtain this certificate is to buy a house; the more expensive the better, because “if it exceeds a certain amount, the procedures are accelerated”.
The dispute at the headquarters of the Tax Agency was intense. Shakira contributed electricity, water and cable TV from the Nassau house. It turned out that these services were paid for by a company and not consumed by her, but by the employees who looked after the farm. The ex-partner and former manager of the Barranquilla singer, Antonio de la Rúa, gave a hand to the inspector without proposing it. The love between the two ended in 2010, when Shakira met Piqué while recording the music video for Waka-waka, the song of the World Cup in South Africa, which won Spain. After being removed from business, De la Rúa filed a lawsuit against her in New York, claiming 100 million euros for helping to create “the Shakira brand.” The inspector obtained a court statement stating that he should stay at home in the Bahamas and that Shakira “sent attendees to collect their belongings.”
The bureaucracy gives clues to the “artificiality” of residence in the Bahamas, which had a simple “fiscal purpose”, because there is no tax that, as in Spain, taxes what is earned regardless of where win (the technical name, grandiloquent, is “world income”). But it is the personal sphere that allows you to see the complete puzzle. The inspector presumes to have “identified the whole core” of Shakira: the parents and siblings, the attendees, the director of the Pies Descalzos Foundation; American accountants, stylists, producers, and friends. Even the trusted doctor in Colombia. Everyone, at some point during the years investigated (2011-2014), visited her in Barcelona. Most came expressly from the United States. “If she really lived in the Bahamas,” she said in the report, “it would have been much easier for them to visit her at her residence in Nassau.”
The hairdresser, the doctor and the photographer
There was not a single day that Shakira visited the island in that period. He also did not provide evidence (such as plane tickets) that he was there. In the Bahamas, there is no “professional, family, personal or social” link, the inspector points out. He traveled all over the world to do concerts, shoot commercials and rest. But no matter how long some of these trips were, “The Voice recorded in the United States several weeks a year,” the Treasury considers them “sporadic absences.” Because when work (and leisure) is over, when it’s time to go home, the destination is Barcelona. Nevertheless, Susana C. faced the challenge of proving that she spent half the year plus one day in Spain, the minimum to consider Shakira a tax resident.
Hacienda obtained the singer’s client file in an aesthetic center in Sarrià, in the upper part of Barcelona. He got information about the days he went to visit the Teknon clinic. He asked Getty Images, the agency that usually photographs his professional and personal life, where and on what day certain images had been taken. He obtained information on the concerts organized by Live Nation in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Bilbao in 2011, an important year for Shakira, as she completed the world tour “Sale el sol”. He knew which days he rented and used the Mandinga recording studio, of the Muñoz brothers (Estopa), in Sant Feliu de Llobregat. He spoke with Codorniu to find out the recording dates of a video clip with Maná in the Rondel del Penedès Cellars (Barcelona). She learned from a hairdresser that she was going to comb her hair at the Esplugues house twice a week that she did it for free. The children’s elite school was informed that the mother is one of the people who takes them in the morning and that she “usually” goes to meetings.
Credit cards have also been essential. Her brother Antonio ―who Shakira identified in the inspection as “coordinator of the security teams” – and three assistants of the singer spent, in four years, the barbarity of 418,046 euros in 279 establishments in Barcelona. The payments correspond to services they received (residents, in theory, in the United States), but especially the singer: restaurants, pharmacies, taxis, hotels; among others, for Anna Kieser, the coach who “put her in shape after the pregnancy,” the report details. A payment document from the Santo Mauro Hotel in Madrid, paid for with a collaborator’s card, literally states: “Shakira pays for it.”
The result of this detective work is a detailed calendar of Shakira’s life, which is exhausting just to see it. Hacienda tries to prove that his base camp was always Barcelona, no matter how much he stopped traveling. As an example, in 2012. Shakira goes to the Golden Ball gala at the NRJ Awards in Cannes, records a spot for Puig in South Africa, escapes to Italy with Piqué, goes to California to record the video clip Addicted to you, attends the summit of the Americas in Colombia, visits the family in Miami, accompanies the Barça defender to the European Championships in Poland, records the auditions for The voice in the United States and even gives a concert in Azerbaijan. She spends an August away from the cameras in cals sogres, in Cabrils (Barcelona): she is pregnant and on January 22, 2013 she will have her first child.
The great escape
A similar analysis holds true for other years. After this step, the inspector rebuilt Shakira’s world empire: a structure of up to 14 companies “without material or human resources”, some in tax havens, which only served to hide the real owner of the millionaire profits: Shakira. The first clue to the opaque structure was once again offered by the businessman Antonio de la Rúa.
The key year is 2008, when Shakira transfers the image rights to a company in the British Virgin Islands, which transfers them (for one euro!) To another in Luxembourg. It is this company, Ace Entertainment, that signs a contract with Live Nation, which guarantees Shakira 300 million in 10 years. The first tour with these conditions is “Sun rises”. The singer reaches an agreement with the Luxembourg authorities to pay 2% tax. Then the almost net income “flows” back to the British Virgin Islands and from there to a company in the Cayman Islands, Carpe Diem, and in the singer’s pocket.
Treasury concludes that Shakira has been defrauded in personal income tax and wealth tax for four years. The year of highest income, 2011, after the great success of the World Cup and with the world tour underway, he could not be brought to justice because he had prescribed. It closed with an act of disagreement: the singer paid 24 million euros (the defrauded fee) to regularize before claiming before the Tax Agency. The inspectors did bring to the prosecution the fraud of 2012, 2013 and 2014. In those three years 34.9 million were pocketed and 14.5 million stopped paying the tax authorities. The prosecution filed a lawsuit and the singer is now charged with six tax offenses. Last summer, Shakira testified before the judge the same story she had told the inspector: she did not live in Spain, she did not live anywhere in particular, she went from one place to another, she was a “nomadic without roots ”.