- The pop sensation was ordered to pay a £12.5 million fine in Spanish court today
- This is on top of the tax she has already repaid plus another fine to avoid jail
Colombian megastar Shakira today struck a deal with Spanish authorities to avoid a trial in Barcelona over accusations that she failed to pay £12.5 million (€14.5m) in tax.
Prosecutors said in July that they would seek a prison sentence of eight years and two months and a fine of £21 million (€24m) for the singer, who has won over fans worldwide for her hits in Spanish and English in different musical genres.
In total, it is understood that she had already repaid the full amount prosecutors had accused her of failing to pay, on top £2.6 million (€3m) in interest.
A £6.4 million (€7.3m) fine was issued today in court, and she will pay £378,000 (€432,000) euros to avoid jail time, taking the total amount she either has or will hand over to Spanish authorities to roughly £21.8 million (€25m) euros.
For most, the sums involved would be eye-watering. But for Shakira – one of the most commercially successful pop stars in the world – it represents but a fraction of her overall net worth, said to be roughly £240 million ($300m or €274m).
In her eyes, according to her statement, the sum is a price she is willing to pay in order to ‘spare my children seeing their mother sacrifice her well-being’. It spares her a lengthy trial that was set to run into December, as well as possible jail time.
So how did a girl from a bustling port city in Colombia transform into Latin America’s biggest pop star who can afford such a hefty fine?
Here, MailOnline looks at her story of serial reinvention, from teen crooner, to Colombian rock chick to Latina bombshell.
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll grew up in a family of Arab descent in the city of Barranquilla, today home to around 1.2 million people.
One day, as a youngster, she hopped up onto a table in a Middle Eastern restaurant and had the room clapping and cheering as she bellydanced.
‘I fell in love with the sensation of being on stage,’ she told Britain’s Guardian newspaper in a 2002 interview.
Her friends were less complimentary about her voice, declaring she sang ‘like a goat’, but Shakira was undeterred, recording her first single ‘Magia’ in 1991 as a denim-clad 14-year-old pining for her first love.
The album did well on the radio in her native country, and gave her good exposure.
Her first major breakthrough came in 1996 with her third album ‘Pies Descalzos’, featuring a young rocker with jet black hair and a guitar slung across her shoulder.
By 22, she had become Latin America’s biggest pop star, with fans including Colombian Nobel literature prize laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who declared she had ‘invented her own brand of innocent sensuality’.
To help her break out of Latin America, US-Cuban diva Gloria Estefan encouraged her to sing in English. Taking the advice on board, in 2002 she went on a world tour with her first bilingual album, ‘Laundry Service’ – which sold 20 million copies.
She had become blonde by this point, mixed salsa and merengue with RnB, electro and hip-hop on chart-topping tracks like ‘Whenever, Wherever’, and infused her routine with the head-spinning hip gyrations that would become her trademark.
By the time she got to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, met Barcelona and Spanish footballing superstar Gerard Pique and headlined the closing ceremony, she was a global superstar.
Her other hit singles include ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ and the 2010 World Cup song ‘Waka Waka’, and she has been nominated for 945 awards, winning 500 of them.
These include wins at the Billboard Latin Music Awards, the BMI Latin Awards, the Latin Grammy Awards and the Grammy Awards themselves.
She is also the holder of several Guinness World Records, the majority of which relate to the performance of her music in various charts or awards.
Her Spanish albums ‘Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1’ (2005), ‘Sale el Sol’ (2010), and ‘El Dorado’ (2017) all topped Billboard Top Latin Albums charts and were certified diamond, and her English-language albums ‘Oral Fixation Vol. 2’ (2005), ‘She Wolf’ (2009), and ‘Shakira’ (2014) were all certified either gold, platinum or multi-platinum.
In total, she has sold more than 125 million albums worldwide and is the second most successful Latin singer ever, after Gloria Estefan, and is the most successful Colombian of all time.
In addition to her own music making, she served as a coach on the American series ‘The Voice’ for two seasons, from 2013 to 2014. In 2013, it was reported that she earned $12 million for her work on the show.
During her time as a pop star, she had made some stunning deals that have seen her bring in huge lump-sums, while her tours have raked in millions.
Her Oral Fixation World Tour, for example, is set to have grossed $175 million.
As early as 2008, she signed a 10-year deal with Live Nation worth $300 million.
Her tours, which have taken her across the globe, have also been sponsored by huge brands, such as her 2009 tour that was sponsored by Spanish car maker Seat.
In January 2021, she sold the rights to her publishing catalogue to the Hipgnosis Songs Fund – an IP investment and song management company.
The deal saw her sell the publishing rights to roughly 145 of her songs.
While the exact terms of the deal have not been made public, comparable sales made by other artists would suggest it was worth at least $100 million.
Despite the mega sale, the last few years have not been easy for Shakira.
In 2021, she was named in the ‘Pandora Papers‘ leaks, which revealed the wealth and tax avoidance strategies of the global elite.
And in June 2022 she announced her split from Spanish footballer Pique, ending one of the world’s most famous celebrity couples.
Pique himself is said to be worth around $80 million, and the couple shared a mansion in Barcelona which was listed for sale for $16 million after their split.
The breakup came around the same time as her elderly father suffered a bad fall.
‘Everything happened at once. My home was falling apart,’ she told People Magazine in 2023. ‘I thought I wasn’t going to survive so much.’
Shakira is understood to have moved to Miami in the US with her sons, and she is reported to be renting a $15 million waterfront home.
Meanwhile, she is said to be looking at purchasing a $50 million mega mansion, while also owning a residence in the Bahamas.
Picking herself up through her music, Shakira released a searing revenge song with Argentine DJ Bizarrap that has been viewed 645 million times on YouTube.
Slamming Pique and his new love interest, she sings: ‘You swapped a Ferrari for a Twingo/You swapped a Rolex for a Casio.’