April 12, 2013 7:46pm PT by Shirley Halperin
Shakira Sued for $100 Million by Ex-Manager
The behind-the-scenes drama of Shakira’s personal life and finances are coming to light via a lawsuit filed by Antonio de la Rua.
The Argentinian businessman, who met the Colombian singer in 2000 while serving as campaign manager for his father’s bid to become president of Argentina and began dating her soon after, alleges that their severed business partnership entitles him to $100 million. According to the filing, de la Rua estimates that the value of Shakira’s 2008 10-year deal with Live Nation alone is worth $300 million.
In the suit, filed April 12 in California Superior Court, de la Rua claims that the global success of Shakira, whose real name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, “was not simply luck” but rather “the result of a hard-fought battle to conquer the music world that Mebarak and de la Rua fought together as business partners.”
Read the filing in its entirety here.
De la Rua takes credit for expanding Shakira’s reach beyond the Latin American market, calling himself the “principal architect of her management team and business plan that set ‘Shakira’ on the path to lasting financial success.”
Indeed, since taking over leadership of said partnership, de la Rua says he propelled the value of the business relationship, which continued after their romance had ended.
The suit cites a January 2011 announcement on Shakira’s website in which the singer wrote, “[We] continue to be partners in our business and professional lives.” The continuing partnership was further emphasized in an e-mail Shakira apparently sent to the CEO of Live Nation, Michael Rapino, which read, “[The breakup] only involves the romantic aspect of our relationship. His [de la Rua’s] word is mine. … We continue to be partners in all of our projects.”
Among those lucrative projects was a $9 million sponsorship deal with Telefonica and a perfume deal with Puig that guaranteed the singer £2 million every year for a decade. “The partnership was assured a steady stream of multimillion-dollar profits for more than a decade with little or no risk of loss,” de la Rua asserts in the suit.
But less than a year later, in October 2011, de la Rua claims his services were “terminated” by Shakira. In February 2012, it was announced that Shakira had signed with Roc Nation, the management company owned by Jay-Z.
The de la Rua suit apparently is in response to a pre-emptive filing by Shakira in the Bahamas.
Today, the singer also is a judge on NBC’s The Voice. She is dating Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique, with whom she has a son, born in January.
THR has reached out to Roc Nation and Shakira's personal rep for comment.