Court heaps humiliation on ailing Montserrat Caballé

Court heaps humiliation on ailing Montserrat Caballé


norman lebrecht

July 10, 2015

A Barcelona court has ordered a forensic medical specialist to examine the great soprano in her home and report back on the state of her health.

Ms Caballé 82, failed to show up for a court hearing two months ago to settle her outstanding tax obligations. She pleaded ill health. The judge is now demanding evidence of her medical condition.

The diva faces six months jail and a quarter-million Euro fine over a long-running tax avoidance charge.

pati caballe


  • Arthur says:

    This is astonishing!

  • Stephen says:

    Tax avoidance or tax evasion? The former is legal, the latter not.

    • Jon says:

      She earned about 2 million EUR singing in concerts and she didn’t pay tax in Spain for that income, saying that she was resident of Andorra.

      Many Catalan people have a second (or third or fourth…) house in Andorra to evade taxes, but most of them live most of the time in Barcelona or elsewhere in Spain and they’re supposed to pay taxes in Spain.

  • Jon says:

    I don’t understand why the visit of a forensic should be “humiliating” for Ms Caballe: she says she’s sick, she should be grateful that she’s receiving free medical consultation. Particularly after the Spanish and Catalan Governments have made severe cuts to the public health budget!

    What is controversial about Ms Caballe’s situation is that there are many other examples of public figures (politicians, businessmen…) with their own tax evasion cases in Catalonia and in Spain, but Ms Caballe’s outcome seems a lot harder than other sentences:

    – She returned the 500K EUR that she initially evaded
    – She has to pay 240K EUR fine
    – She has been sentenced to 6 months of prison (obviously this will not happen though)

    In Spain, and particularly in Catalonia, for many decades some people believed that they could get away with all sorts of corruption. This led to the huge crisis Spain is suffering now and lately prosecution against corruption has increased and they’re giving admonitory punishments to some public figures.

    Unlucky Ms Caballe might be one of the chosen scapegoats, but she chose taking part in that game anyway.

    • V.Lind says:

      I agree. her health at the moment is “alleged,” and the court wants proof as to why she cannot show.

      An incarceration seems a little harsh, but as she seems someone who would not be open to the alternative — a smart fine — she may have forced their hands.

      Greece is full of people who do not pay tax, and look where it got them. My sympathies for Ms. Caballé are under firm control.

  • Olassus says:

    Jail the cheat and confiscate her wig!

  • Simon S. says:

    The law is equal for everyone. Being a great artist doesn’t justify privileged treatment by criminal prosecution authorities. And it is perfectly OK that the court examines the alleged health grounds.

    No humiliation whatsoever.

  • Joanna Debenham says:

    I admire Ms Caballe as a singer no end.

    Whilst I have some sympathy, having seen the current mess in Greece (and in Spain) due to the wealthy failing to pay their taxes, maybe this prosecution is necessary.

    The ISM (Britain’s professional body that deals with musicians) offers free tax advice. Although legislation varies, if you earn enough, then you pay the tax.

  • Robert says:

    Just get it finished/over with – best for all parties.