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CRIME

Model goes on trial for murder of British expat millionaire

A Slovakian model stands trial on Monday in Málaga, accused of murdering her millionaire ex-boyfriend.

Model goes on trial for murder of British expat millionaire
Mayka Kukucova with British businessman Andrew Bush. Photo: Facebook

British millionaire jeweller Andrew Bush, 48, was found dead in April 2014 at his home in the Costa del Sol town of Estepona.

The suspect on trial for the murder is his ex-girlfriend, Slovakian model Mayka Kukucova, who is accused of shooting him dead when he returned to his home after a trip away with a new girlfriend.

When Bush, who ran several jewellery businesses in Bristol, and his new young sweetheart arrived at the house that night, they found Kukucova inside wearing pajamas. The new girlfriend, María Korotaeva, then went back outside to sit in the car, according to Diario SUR.

As Bush tried to calm his former lover, she reportedly shot him three times with a .38-calibre hand gun, twice in the head and once in the arm. She also reportedly placed the gun in Bush’s hand and then fled in one of his cars, according to newspaper La Opinión de Málaga.

Korotaeva called police after seeing Kukucova run away and finding that she had been locked out of the house.

When police arrived, they found Bush dead from the gunshot wounds to his head. Authorities said at the time that they believed Kukucova had somehow let herself into the home and then waited for several days until he returned.

Kukucova fled to her home country of Slovakia, where she turned herself in.

The now 25-year-old model faces 20 years in prison for the alleged murder and stealing the car.

But her defense team has said that it was Bush who attacked her with the gun first and that it went off while they were struggling.

Korotaeva, a university student at the time, has posted tributes on Instagram to Bush since he was killed, saying she has tried to “stop hating” Kukucova for what happened.

“It was hard time for me. I had to stand up from my knees, stop crying, stop hating Maria Kukucova of murdering you,” she wrote in a post a year and a half after Bush's death.

“[You] were in my thoughts and dreams for very long time… I guess, even now.”

 

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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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