SIR SEAN Connery was asked about any links to convicted criminals and his personal finances as part of a court inquiry into the sale of his former Spanish home, it emerged yesterday.
The Scottish actor was quizzed on whether he had offshore firms, had ever given gifts to Land Registry workers and what his relationship was with former mayors of Marbella jailed for crimes including embezzlement and fraud.
The questions were reported by a Spanish newspaper which yesterday published leaked extracts of a sworn statement Sir Sean made at a lawyer’s office near his home in the Bahamas.
The affidavit is now in the hands of an investigating magistrate in Marbella who is probing the 1999 sale of Sir Sean’s home in the resort and its subsequent demolition to make way for a luxury apartment block built in breach of planning regulations.
Nearly 20 people, including two lawyers who represented the actor in Spain and a former town hall planning chief, are facing trial on charges including bribery, fraud and tax crimes. The investigating magistrate in charge of the pre-trial inquiry is studying the 56-page affidavit, ordered through an international “letter of request” more than three years ago.
The star, who has not been charged with or accused of any crime, is expected to react angrily to its leaking in Costa del Sol-based Spanish-language daily newspaper SUR.
The newspaper printed the front page of his affidavit, which included his address in the Bahamas. Headed “Affadavit of Thomas Sean Connery”, it reads: “I have been informed by my Spanish lawyers that I have been named as a party in criminal proceedings in Spain.
“I am swearing this affadavit voluntarily and of my own free will in order to collaborate and expedite the investigation conducted by the Spanish court.”
SUR reported Sir Sean was asked in documents sent with the international “letter of request” if he had any relationship with corrupt former Marbella mayors Jesus Gil and Julian Munoz, and jailed former town hall planning chief Juan Antonio Roca. He is said to have denied any relationship with the trio and said of Gil, a populist right-winger whose corruption turned Marbella into a haven for gangsters: “I believe I saw him in a public engagement and don’t consider that can be defined as me knowing him.
“In the 90s I asked my lawyer Hector Diaz-Bastien to legally require Mr Gil to withdraw a video made for his mayoral re-election campaign which contained images of mine included in the video without my consent or authorisation. That request was carried out.”
He also denied involvement in two firms linked to an alleged multi-million pound fraud relating to the property deal involving Sir Sean’s former home around the time it was completed, SUR reported.
The newspaper said he was asked if he had profited from the operation, owned companies in offshore locations including the Isle of Man or Uruguay where cash from the suspect real estate deal is thought to have been laundered, or given gifts to Land Registry workers in Marbella. His response to all three questions was “No”, SUR said.
Sir Sean signed the affidavit – witnessed by a Bahamas QC and a lawyer who has advised him on Spanish law – on 21 February 2012. It was only handed to the investigating magistrate in Marbella on 21 January this year.
The reason for the delay, which prompted the magistrate to threaten the actor and his wife with international arrest warrants last May, has not been made clear.
Sir Sean sold his Marbella home, Casa Malibu, in 1999 and it was subsequently demolished.
More than 70 flats, later sold for an estimated £45 million, were built in its place, despite planning regulations stipulating that only five flats could be built there.