Connery cites health for Spanish court non-appearance

15th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Sean Connery and his wife failed to attend a Spanish court hearing into a corruption probe as ordered on Friday, citing health reasons, a court source said.

The 80-year-old film star best known for his portrayal of James Bond said in a letter to the judge that because of their "age and state of health" they cannot travel to the Marbella court from their home in the Bahamas, the source said.

The judge was now studying whether to send officials to question the couple at their residence in the Bahamas, the source said.

Dozens of journalists had gathered outside the court in the jet-set resort of Marbella Friday morning for the couple's expected appearance.

The Oscar-winning actor was named in May in the investigation dubbed "Goldfinger" after the 1964 James Bond film and which involves the sale of his luxury seaside villa near Marbella.

Connery sold the villa, named Malibu, in 1999 reportedly for around nine million dollars (6.5 million euros).

The villa was subsequently knocked down, and a four-storey luxury apartment complex with 72 flats was built on the land where it once stood in 2004-2005, despite planning rules which said only five homes could be constructed on it.

In May police raided the Madrid and Marbella offices of a law firm which is believed to have handled the sale.

The Scottish actor and his French-born wife, Micheline, were subpoenaed earlier this month to appear before the judge in Marbella on October 15.

The two have not been arrested and have not been charged in the case.

Spanish media said last week that if they failed to appear the judge has warned he "may use all legal means under both the national and international law to compel them."

Marbella has been engulfed for the past four years in a massive property corruption scandal that led to the dissolution of the town council in 2007.

© 2010 AFP

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