Problems abound for Sean Connery, famous for his role as James Bond in several of the franchise’s films. Like the unfolding plot of a movie, Connery has found himself the center of attention in a case of alleged tax fraud, just two months after being named in an investigation for alleged money laundering.
Both cases are related to property once owned by the actor and his wife in southern Spain. Early reports allege that a firm linked to Connery failed to pay an estimated $2 million (1.6 million euros) in taxes following the sale of development rights to the property.
Sadly, Sean Connery isn’t the only celebrity who’s in for over a million dollars in unpaid taxes this year. Comedian Steve Harvey’s company, Wonder Love Inc., had a lien for over $2 million in delinquent federal taxes placed on it in March of this year. The IRS filed a lien for over $1 million against pro-golfer John Daly this past May for his failure to pay income taxes in 2007 and 2008. Alicia Keys’ fiancée, Swizz Beatz, has racked up over $2 million in State and Federal tax liens.
As forgiving as the public can be for their celebrity heroes, fans probably won’t be as sympathetic with Connery and his wife for their tax woes due to the nature of the cases. While it is easy for fans to speculate that the increase in celebrity financial crisis has been caused by the decline of the global economy, and, in turn, the dwindling sales of albums and tickets to see live performances, neither of these factors seem to play an important role in Sean Connery’s case.
Rather than appearing to be suffering from the crisis of financial mismanagement, an issue that plagues average workers in much the same way that it is wreaking havoc on big-name stars, Sean Connery is being probed in cases that involve the sale and development of property without following appropriate building rules (one property is stated to have been approved for development of five homes, but, instead, a multi-unit housing structure with 72 homes was built), and without properly paying taxes due from the profit of development rights for a second property.
Further driving the difference of Connery from other celebrities is the frequency that many celebrities with tax troubles are selling off their properties in order to reduce their outstanding debts, as it is speculated John Daly did when he put his Memphis home up for sale for under $700,000 earlier this year. Instead, Connery’s name is being associated with wrongdoing while selling just one of the two properties for approximately $9 million.
Although both of the cases involving Sean Connery and his wife surround real estate dealings overseas, the allegations of money laundering and fraud bring to mind visions of James Bond in a darkened room, printing off page upon page of counterfeit bills, trimming them down and carrying about his business more like a mob-boss than super-spy.
It will be interesting to see how well Connery is able to wade through the waters of his tax woes, and whether or not the legal problems associated with them will sully his widely loved name. One thing is certain, though: Sean Connery has entered the steadily growing catalog of celebrities who aren’t making good on their tax debts, and his name certainly won’t be the last one on the list.
h.b., “Sean Connery faces new charges of tax fraud in Spain”, www.typicallyspanish.com
AFP, “Sean Connery Probed in Spanish Tax Fraud Case: Reports”, www.google.com
Christian Johnson, “Steve Harvey Joins Long List of Celebs With Tax Problems”, www.rollingout.com
Robert Snell, “IRS Grips, Rips Golfer John Daly”, www.detnews.com
WebCPA Staff, “Alicia Keys’ Fiance Owes IRS and New York $2.2M”, www.WebCPA.com