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Sir Sean Connery ordered to pay millions in investigation into Spanish property fraud

19-Nov-2010 • Actor News

Sir Sean Connery is among those ordered to deposit a combined sum of €60 million (£51m) with a Spanish court investigating allegations of corruption surrounding his former mansion on the Costa del Sol - reports the Telegraph.

The James Bond star and his French born wife Micheline Roquebrune are among 26 people to be summoned by a Marbella court in connection with Operation Goldfinger, an investigation into alleged property fraud and money laundering.

The investigation has uncovered apparent irregularities arising from the sale in 1998 of Casa Malibu, a Marbella property which the couple owned for 20 years, for euros 6.4m (pounds 5.6m).

The local authority claims 72 luxury flats were built on the site following the sale of Casa Malibu, despite planning permission for only five family homes. The development yielded a euros 53m profit most of which was allegedly sent to tax havens abroad.

Spanish tax officials allege that Sir Sean and his wife had dealings with a company involved in the scheme and that they and the developer, a company called By the Sea, were both represented by the same law firm. Several lawyers from the firm are connected with the investigation.

Sir Sean and his wife have been named as "imputados" – witnesses whom the court treats as potential suspects – but there is no suggestion that they committed a crime.

Among the Goldfinger suspects are Julian Munoz, the former mayor of Marbella and former town planning adviser Juan Antonio Roca, who are currently on trial in a separate case regarding property fraud amounting to more than euros 2bn.

Last month the 80-year-old actor and his wife failed to attend a court hearing in Marbella to answer questions on the sale of their former holiday home. In a letter to the court Sir Sean cited his age and poor health as reasons for the couple's non-appearance.

However, the Scottish 007, who lives in the Bahamas, said he was fully willing to co-operate with the court and would provide signed statements.

Judge Ricardo Puyol, last week ordered named individuals to jointly post a bond of 60 million euros, as surety in the case, and gave them a limit of ten days or risk the impounding of personal assets.

The exact amount Connery and his wife will have to deposit has not been disclosed. They will be formally informed via an international commission rogatoria through local courts in Nassau, where the couple reside - a process that could take weeks.

The actor has been threatening to sue for damages on the grounds that the allegations have caused him both personal and financial harm.

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