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CRIME

Spanish mum jailed in adopted girl murder case

A Spanish judge on Friday jailed a 44-year-old mother on charges of killing her Chinese-born, 12-year-old adopted daughter, whose mysterious death has gripped the country.

Spanish mum jailed in adopted girl murder case
The woman, Rosario Porto, was charged with “homicide, possible murder” while awaiting the results of toxicological tests on her daughter’s body. Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

The woman, Rosario Porto, was charged with “homicide, possible murder” while awaiting the results of toxicological tests on her daughter’s body, said a court in the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.

After a three-and-a-half-hour hearing, the judge ordered that Porto, a lawyer, be imprisoned without bail, the High Court of the Galicia region said in a written statement.

Her ex-husband, journalist Alfonso Basterra, 49, appeared in court shortly afterwards facing similar charges related to his daughter’s death, the court said.

The body of the girl, Asunta Yong Fang Basterra Porto, was discovered in the early hours of September 22 in woodlands near Santiago de Compostela, just hours after her parents had reported her missing.

Newspapers and television talk shows have devoted intense coverage to each turn of the case against the parents, who reportedly adopted their daughter in China when she was a baby.

On Thursday, the pair were shown on national television being led in handcuffs to their respective homes in the centre of Santiago de Compostela for police searches.

Small crowds of onlookers gathered, some hurling insults at the father and the mother, a Spanish citizen who acted as French honorary consul in the northwestern region of Galicia from 1996-2006.

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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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