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Sean Connery's wife faces €22m fine over Marbella villa sale
SEAN Connery's wife Micheline Roquebrune is officially facing criminal charges over the so-called 'Operation Goldfinger' property corruption investigation – although her veteran Bond actor husband has been acquitted.
Last year, www.thinkspain.com reported that inquiries were allegedly centring on the wife of the Scottish celebrity in connection with a villa owned by the couple in Marbella (Málaga province), known as Malibu, which was sold for €6.4 million in 1998, in which she was considered to have attempted to hide the profits.
And now, the prosecution has revealed it has recommended the 86-year-old be fined €22m and got to prison for two-and-a-half years.
If she is found guilty and her custodial term reduced to under two years – even by a day – she will not have to serve it, as this is a first offence.
Prosecutors claim Ms Roquebrune was linked to the development company By the Sea, involving solicitors and other businessmen, through which they say she documented 'fake legal transactions' to launder the sale proceeds of the villa, which was demolished and a complex of 73 luxury apartments built on the site.
Planning permission had only been granted for five residential properties, and the sale of the homes on the new urbanisation led to profits to the tune of €53m.
Among the 17 defendants facing trial in 2016 are two of the main figureheads in the so-named 'Malaya Case', relating to a huge property development fraud connected to urbanisations in Marbella and in Los Alcázares (Murcia Region).
Juan Antonio Roca, sidekick of Marbella's ex-mayor Julián Muñoz, is already serving a prison sentence along with Muñoz himself and his former partner, legendary flamenco singer Isabel Pantoja.
Sra Pantoja has been attempting unsuccessfully to obtain the 'third degree', which will allow her to live a normal life at home but only return to prison at night to sleep, or at weekends.
She has already been granted weekend leave at least twice, and other inmates at the women's jail she is serving time at for the next two years lodged complaints this year about her getting favourable treatment from prison bosses.
Muñoz and Roca, plus Ms Roquebrune, have been contacted by letter and ordered to contact their defence solicitors ahead of an as-yet unfixed trial date at Málaga criminal court.
Ms Roquebrune and Connery, 85, now live full-time in the Bahamas, meaning it is likely the accused will not appear herself in court but will be represented by her solicitor.
Photograph: Sean Connery and Micheline Roquebrune in Schipol airport, Amsterdam in 1983 (Nationaal Archief)
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