Sean Connery probed in Spanish tax fraud

OSCAR-winning film star Sean Connery and his wife Micheline have been placed under investigation in Spain over allegations of tax fraud.

The step is the first part of the process towards formal charges, local media reported.

Investigators suspect a property firm linked to the 79-year-old Scottish actor failed to pay 1.6 million euros ($2.34 million) in taxes, the Spanish newspaper Sur reported on its website, citing judicial sources.

The unpaid taxes may have stemmed from the sale of development rights to land on the outskirts of the Mediterranean resort of Malaga, the paper said.

The James Bond star, who lives in the Bahamas with his wife, was named in May in a separate money-laundering investigation involving the sale of a luxury seaside villa just east of Marbella, which is near Malaga. Connery sold the villa, named Malibu, in 1999 reportedly for about $US9 million ($10.18 million).

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 2004-05.

That is despite planning rules that said only five homes could be constructed on it.

In May, police raided the Madrid and Marbella offices of a law firm that is believed to have handled the sale of the firm as part of their investigation in an operation codenamed Goldfinger after the 1964 James Bond film.

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