Bond star ordered to pay £50m as part of property fraud probe
26 November 2010
Sir Sean Connery has been ordered to pay up his share of £50 million after being accused of being part of an ongoing investigation into a property scam.
The former Bond star, and his French wife Micheline Roquebrune, are among 26 people who have been ordered to pay the sum, in connection with allegations of property fraud and money laundering.
The 007 star has been warned that if he fails to pay the money he could face investigation by police and tax officials - with Judge Ricardo Puyol warning that property owned by Sir Sean could also be seized.
The investigation into several dubious property deals included irregularities arising from the sale in 1998 of Casa Malibu, a Marbella property, which the couple owned for 20 years for £5.6 million.
After the couple sold the Costa Del Sol mansion, the area was redeveloped into a 72 luxury apartments, which sold for an estimated £45 million - but there was only planning permission for five family homes.
The profit made from the redevelopment was allegedly then sent to tax havens abroad. In May, police raided the Madrid and Marbella offices of a law firm which is believed to have handled the sale.
Spanish tax officials allege that Sir Sean and his wife had dealings with the company involved in the sale and that they, the developer and a company called By the Sea, were represented by the same law firm.
And now, according to reports in The Telegraph, the 26 summoned - which includes Marbella's former mayor and several planning officials - have been ordered by Judge Puyol to jointly pay the bond of £45 million as surety in the case and cover the civil costs.
Although last month the 80-year-old actor and his wife, who now reside in the Bahamas, failed to attend a court hearing in Marbella, they have said they are willing to co-operate with the court and would provide signed statements.
The two have not been arrested and have not been charged in the case, but have been named as "imputados" - meaning witnesses whom the court treats as potential suspects.
The exact amount the couple will have to deposit has not been disclosed, but they will be formally informed in the coming weeks and will have 10 days to deposit the money.
Meanwhile, Sir Sean has been threatening to sue for damages on the grounds that the allegations have caused him both personal and financial harm.
By Shelley DeBere