Is Shakira in jail? Her fraud allegations explained

The Colombian singer is accused of evading payment of £13m

A photo of Shakira at a red carpet event
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the singer has been ordered to stand trial in a tax fraud case, many are asking is Shakira in jail?

Just like the public were asking why did Boy George go to prison (opens in new tab) after his appearance on I'm a Celebrity, as well as where is Elizabeth Holmes now (opens in new tab) and where is Anna Delvey now (opens in new tab) following popular TV series telling the stories of their crimes, many are now asking similar questions of Colombian singer Shakira.

She's found herself in hot water with the Spanish authorities after being accused of failing to pay taxes - an allegation she has repeatedly denied. With social media now fuelling rumours that the "Hips Don't Lie" singer is behind bars, the public have been asking is Shakira in jail and what exactly is she accused of?

Is Shakira in jail?

No, Shakira is not in jail, though she is currently awaiting trial. The singer has been accused of tax fraud - an allegation she has repeatedly denied - and rejected a settlement deal from the prosecutor’s office in July, meaning the case will now go to trial. 

Confusion as to whether Shakira is in jail or not was caused when videos surfaced on TikTok with audio of her singing overlaid with footage taken behind bars. One video captioned "Not Shakira giving us a free concert" has reached over 700,000 views, with users fuelling the misinformation in the comments. One said "I heard cell 3a got a perfect view," while another added, "Girl cell block B6 got front row they are so lucky".

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Though Shakira is not in jail, prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison sentence as well as 24 million euros (£20.2m) in fines if she’s found guilty. A date for the trial has not yet been set.

Why is Shakira facing time in jail?

Shakira has been accused of failing to pay 14.5 million euros (£13m) in taxes on her income between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors in Barcelona have alleged the star spent more than half of those years in Spain and she therefore should have paid taxes in the country, even though her official residence was in the Bahamas.

In 2021, she was accused of using shell companies to conceal control of assets and putting her name on forms only in countries considered tax havens.

Shakira's representatives have said the singer has always fulfilled her tax duties, and that she has deposited the amount she is said to owe, along with 3 million euros (£2.5m) in interest.

What has Shakira said about the allegations against her?

Shakira has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying she never exceeded the 183 days of presence in Spain required to be a tax resident. She recently hit out at the Spanish authorities in a statement.

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She said: "It is unacceptable that, in its accusation, the tax authorities are not respecting the legal certainty that must be guaranteed to any taxpayer, not my fundamental rights.

"As well as that they are trying to damage a reputation earned with the work of many years… in my case they have violated my right to privacy and the presumption of innocence, basic rights of any citizen."

Shakira's representative added: "What actually occurred were sporadic presences, thus resulting in an accusation based on mere conjecture.

"As an example, the accusation counts all the payments made with a series of credit cards belonging to her team and friends made in Spain to add up the days of Shakira's presence in this country, without taking into account that, on many occasions, there are payments made simultaneously in different parts of the world, without the artist being physically present in those places where the payments were being made."

Shakira net worth

According to Celebrity Net Worth (opens in new tab), Shakira has a net worth of $300 million. The Colombian singer has sold over 80 million records worldwide and won several Billboard, MTV and Grammy Awards. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Shakira made her recording debut at just 13 years old, and found her way onto the US charts with her fifth album, Laundry Service, in 2001, which featured the singles "Whenever, Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes".

Since then, she sang the 2010 official World Cup song "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)", served as a coach on two seasons of The Voice in the US and performed the Super Bowl halftime show alongside Jennifer Lopez in 2020.

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Ellie Hutchings
Junior Features Writer

Ellie joined Goodto as a Junior Features Writer in 2022 after finishing her Master’s in Magazine Journalism at Nottingham Trent University. Previously, she completed successful work experience placements with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue and the Nottingham Post, and freelanced as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. In 2021, Ellie graduated from Cardiff University with a first-class degree in Journalism.