Connery ordered to face Spanish money laundering charges

LAST UPDATED: 16 Oct, 2010 @ 18:34
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HE is one of the colourful figures that once made the Costa del Sol one of the world’s most glamorous holiday destinations.

But now, Sir Sean Connery has been ordered to return to face money laundering charges after becoming embroiled in Marbella’s famous Operation Malaya money laundering case.

The Scottish actor, 79, and his second wife, French artist Micheline Roquebrune, 81, have been named as part of an investigation into financial irregularities in Marbella.

The James Bond star and his wife bought a beachfront mansion, Casa Malibu, near Puerto Banus, after their wedding in 1975.

A beautiful whitewashed villa overlooking the Med, over the years the couple entertained numerous celebrities, including Richard Burton, George Best and Michael Caine.

They continued to spent long periods of time on the Costa del Sol where they wined and dined and played golf in between his film projects.

Now a Malaga judge has opened an investigation into the sale of the property amid allegations of tax evasion and money-laundering.

But the problems came when the home was sold in 1999 for around nine million euros and the site soon become a four-storey block containing 72 holiday apartments.

Now a Malaga judge has opened an investigation into the sale of the property amid allegations of tax evasion and money-laundering.

The actor and tax exile, who was knighted in 2000, has been ordered to appear before Marbella Court later this month.

They will be questioned behind closed doors by the magistrate, who has placed a secrecy order on the case. Neither Sir Sean or his wife have been arrested or charged with any offence.

Five lawyers have also been ordered to appear before the court after police raided their offices on Wednesday in an operation named “Goldfinger” after the 1964 Bond film.

Police also carried out raids on the Marbella and Madrid offices of law firm Diaz-Bastien & Truan, which handled the sale, and reportedly seized 30,000 documents.

The development is part of an ongoing investigation into planning abuses, embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion carried out during the administration of the late mayor of Marbella Jesus Gil y Gil, who held office between 1991 and 2002.

So far over 100 politicians, lawyers and developers have been arrested as part of the huge Operation Malaya case.

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