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Opera Star Montserrat Caballé Receives Six-Month Suspended Prison Sentence and a €240,000 Fine for Tax Evasion

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Dec 30, 2014 03:31 PM EST

Opera star Montserrat Caballé has reached a deal with the public prosecutor in Spain to receive a six-month suspended prison sentence and a 240,000 euro — or $291,814.80 — fine for defrauding the Spanish tax office of 500,000 euros — or $607,947.50.

It is unlikely that Caballé will ultimately serve any jail time for tax evasion, given that the sentence is under two years and she has no prior convictions. The Spanish soprano has already returned the defrauded 500,000 euros to the Tax Agency and signed the agreement drawn up by the public prosecutor. The document will have to be ratified before the criminal court judge to avoid the case going to trial.

The 81-year-old Caballé reportedly pretended to be living most of the year in Andorra, which is a tax haven, meaning she obtained substantial reductions in her annual return for the year 2010 on earnings from her live shows and recorded albums.

But in reality, she was living in Barcelona and only visited Andorra for professional reasons.

Sources close to Caballé say the soprano is not in good health and rarely leaves her house.

“She is in a very fragile state of health,” the sources told Europa Press.

The singer testified before judge Josep Maria Miquel Porres in May while lying in bed in her home in the city, saying her health prevented her from attending court in person.

For those who do not know Caballé for her opera accolades, she became a household name after recording “Barcelona” with Freddy Mercury in 1987. The song was one of the biggest hits of Mercury's solo career, reaching No. 8 on the U.K. Singles Chart. After Mercury's death in 1991, it was featured at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

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TagsOpera, Montserrat Caballé, Prison, Tax Evasion, Barcelona, Spain, Freddy Mercury, Summer Olympics