November 10, 2015
SEAN Connery has been given another six months to answer questions about a shady Spanish land deal – or face arrest.
Judges have spent more nearly three years trying to get a response from the Scots actor.
Now the latest investigating judge tasked with probing the sale and demolition of his former Costa del Sol home to make way for flats, has indicated he is considering issuing an international arrest warrant against the former 007 if his decision to extend a rogatory commission by six months does not yield results.
Connery, 82, and his French-born wife Micheline Roquebrune have denied any wrongdoing.
The couple were first sent a list of questions via a letter rogatory, the official method of requesting assistance between countries, around a month after Sir Sean cited health reasons for an October 2010 no-show at the court in the Costa del Sol resort of Marbella probing the land deal.
The court says it has heard nothing from Connery and his wife since then.
The probe has been dubbed Goldfinger after one of the films the actor starred in.
More than 15 other people including disgraced Marbella ex-mayor Julian Munoz and former town planning chief Juan Antonio Roca, face being tried.
Both are currently serving prison sentences for convictions relating to town hall corruption.
Investigating judge Alfredo Elias wrote in his decree: “If the six month deadline transpires without the rogatory commission being executed, the commission will be declared null and void and the judge will decide whether to proceed with the case by issuing international arrest warrants against Lady Micheline Anne Jeanne Connery and Sir Sean Thomas Connery.”
A court source said: “The investigating judge has decided to continue his probe against 17 people including Munoz and Roca.
“In respect of Sean Connery and his wife the judge has decided to extend the completion time of the rogatory commision by another six months.
“If it is completed in that time he will analyse the couple’s response before deciding his next move which could be to add them to the 17 people he is likely to recommend for trial or eliminate them from his inquiries.
“If the rogatory commission is not completed in the next six months, he will consider his options which include the issuing of international arrest warrants against Mr Connery and his wife.”
Connery, who made a rare public appearance in New York last month, sold Marbella home Casa Malibu in 1999 and it was subsequently demolished.
More than 70 flats, later sold for an estimated EUROS 53 million, were built in its place despite planning regulations stipulating only five flats could be built there.
More than 20 people, including corrupt former town hall officials and Connery’s lawyers, were called to give evidence in private court hearings designed to determine if charges should be laid.
The alleged crimes being investigated include money laundering, tax evasion and town planning breaches.
Connery was implicated in the probe in May 2010 following a police raid on the offices of his Spanish-based lawyers.
The case was subsequently dubbed Goldfinger after the 1964 Bond film he starred in.
Judge Ricardo Puyol, one of the first judges who probed the land deal, summonsed Connery and his wife for questioning in October 2010.
He was informed the pair would not attend the hearing in a fax sent by New York lawyers.
They cited health reasons and their advanced age and claimed they had not been able to prepare the journey to Spain in time.
Puyol then agreed to send his questions in writing before the case was subsequently taken over by Manuel Jaen Vallejo.
He later left for a new job with Spain’s Ministry of Justice.
The current investigating judge is thought to be the fourth judge tasked with the probe.
Sir Sean and his wife bought Casa Malibu after their wedding in 1975.
They entertained stars including Richard Burton, Michael Caine, Omar Shariff and George Best in the magnificent whitewashed villla.
Michelle Roquebrune, Sir Sean’s second wife, has previously claimed: “These allegations of money-laundering are nonsense.
“We have nothing to do with this. We sold the property and that is it.”
Sir Sean has already threatened reprisals over leaks linking him to the criminal investigation.
In a furious letter forwarded to Ricardo Puyol by Britain’s Ambassador to Spain, he warned he was considering legal action and demanded to know what proof court officials have to support the suspicion he may have committed any wrongdoing.
Excerpts of the letter were leaked to a local Spanish paper after officials privately questioned the British Embassy’s role in the affair.
It is understood court officials in Spain sent their rogatory commission to judicial authorities in the Bahamas, where Sir Sean owns a house.
Receptionists at both the Marbella and Madrid offices of law firm Diaz-Bastien & Truan, which has represented Connery in the past, said the firm had no comment to make and refused to say if it continued to represent the actor.