London: Italian film star Gina Lollobrigida, once dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world”, has claimed that her ex-boyfriend, a Spanish businessman 34 years her junior, staged a secret ceremony in which he “married” an impostor pretending to be her at a registry office in Barcelona.
The 85-year-old actress accuses Javier Rigau y Rafols, 51, of hoping to lay claim to her estate after her death, the Telegraph reported.
Lollobrigida believes that the registrar went ahead with the ceremony three years ago, marrying her former boyfriend and a mystery woman called Teresa - a woman Lollobrigida claims was posing as her.
“This vile person married me by proxy, without my knowledge and without my permission, in order to inherit my estate after my death. There will be international investigations because I want to shed light on this squalid affair and all the people involved,” she said.
Lollobrigida accuses Rafols of fraud, saying that he was able to carry out the elaborate charade because he had in the past obtained the legal right to act on her behalf.
A while ago he convinced her to give him her power of attorney, as he needed it for some legal affairs. But she thinks that he took advantage of the fact that she doesn’t understand Spanish, and made her sign something she wasn’t aware of.
Javier Saavedra, a Spanish lawyer who said he represented Rafols until 2009 when they fell out over allegedly unpaid bills, claimed the actress’ version of events was true.
“Rafols paid money to a woman who looked like Gina Lollobrigida to enter into a fake marriage. He presented legal papers bearing what was supposedly Lollobrigida’s signature,” he said.
The couple’s relationship lasted more than 20 years and in 2006 she considered marrying him, but later changed her mind.
The fake marriage allegedly took place three years ago, but she only found out about it by chance this week when she came across legal records on the internet.