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CRIME

Jewel thieves sold short in gold shop rip-off

A pair of incompetent Bilbao-based jewel thieves flogged off their stolen merchandise for far less than it was worth, police investigations have revealed.

Jewel thieves sold short in gold shop rip-off
The ring robbers from Bilbao were taken for a ride by a local gold merchant. File photo: Koshy Koshy/Flickr

Basque police arrested the burglar and her boyfriend partner-in-crime on April 23rd, Spanish television channel Antena 3 reported on Monday.

The noose around the criminal pair began to tighten at the end of March when a resident of Bilbao told local police that a higly valuable ring had been stolen from her home.

She said that her search for the missing piece had revealed other jewels were missing from her home too. Several days later, it emerged a similar suite of thefts had taken place at the daughter of the victim. 

Police soon suspected a cleaning woman who worked at the houses of the two woman who had been robbed was responsible for the crimes. They then established that her boyfiend was the fence in the operation.

The pair were then detained in late April.

Further investigations into the pair showed that they had already flogged off most the stolen jewels at the same gold trading shop in Bilbao.

But the criminal masterminds clearly hadn't done their homework properly. One of the items the cleaning lady slipped into her bag — a ring mounted with a diamond — fetched the pair €300 ($390) at the gold trading establishment.

The items's actual value, however, was closer to €200,000 .

The manager of the gold shop had managed to convince them that the stone was of little value.

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TAX FRAUD

Spanish court orders Shakira to stand trial in tax fraud case

A Spanish court has ordered Colombian music superstar Shakira to stand trial in a tax fraud case at a date yet to be determined, court documents showed on Tuesday.

Spanish court orders Shakira to stand trial in tax fraud case

Prosecutors in Barcelona said in July they would seek a prison sentence of more than eight years against the singer and a fine of nearly €24 million ($24 million), after she rejected a plea deal over accusations of tax evasion.

They accuse the 45-year-old “Hips don’t Lie” songstress of defrauding the Spanish tax office of €14.5 million ($14.7 million) on income earned between 2012 and 2014.

Prosecutors say Shakira moved to Spain in 2011 when her relationship with FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique became public but maintained official tax residency in the Bahamas until 2015.

The couple, who have two children, announced their separation in June. On September 19, a Barcelona court ordered the singer to stand trial for six tax crimes, according to a court ruling made public on Tuesday.

In an interview published in Elle magazine last week, Shakira said she was confident she had behaved correctly and did not owe the Spanish tax office anything.

“These accusations are false,” she said.

“While Gerard and I were dating, I was on a world tour. I spent more than 240 days outside Spain, so there was no way I qualified as a resident,” she added.

“The Spanish tax authorities saw that I was dating a Spanish citizen and started to salivate. It’s clear they wanted to go after that money no matter what.”

Shakira’s lawyers have said that until 2014 she earned most of her money from international tours, moved to Spain full time only in 2015 and has met all her tax obligations.

The singer says she has paid €17.2 million to Spanish tax authorities and has no outstanding debts.

She argues Spanish prosecutors are trying to claim money she earned during her international tour and from her participation on the show “The Voice”.

She was a judge on the show in the United States, when she says she was not yet resident in Spain.

A Barcelona court in May dismissed an appeal from the singer to drop the charges.

Shakira was named in one of the largest ever leaks of financial documents in October 2021, known as the “Pandora Papers”, among public figures linked to offshore assets.

With her mix of Latin and Arabic rhythms and rock influence, three-time Grammy winner Shakira scored major global hits with songs such as “Hips don’t Lie”, “Whenever, Wherever” and “Waka Waka”, the official song of the 2010 World Cup.

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