BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — After having maintained her innocence for nearly five years, pop star Shakira struck a last-minute deal on the opening day of her tax fraud trial in Barcelona to avoid the risk of going to prison.
Shakira told the presiding magistrate, José Manuel del Amo, on Monday that she accepted the agreement reached with prosecutors.
She answered “yes” to confirm her acknowledgement of six counts of failing to pay the Spanish government 14.5 million euros (about $15.8 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014.
Under the deal, Shakira is to receive a suspended three-year sentence and pay a fine of 7.3 million euros ($8 million).
She will pay another fine of 432,000 euros ($472,000) in exchange for her sentence waived.
However, she now has it on her legal record that she was found guilty of tax fraud, which could affect another pending case she has with tax officials.
The trial, which would have included more than 100 witnesses over the following weeks, was instead called off after just eight minutes.
Prosecutors said in July that they would seek a prison sentence of eight years and two months and a fine of 24 million euros ($26 million) for the singer, who has won over fans worldwide for her hits in Spanish and English in different musical genres.
Shakira said in a statement provided by her public relations firm that she had wanted to fight on but put her family, career and peace of mind first.
“I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight,” she said.
“I need to move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years and focus on the things I love, my kids and all the opportunities to come in my career.”
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