Postcard from... Milan


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The Independent Online

It's not unknown for ageing divas of the silver screen to get hitched to men half their age. For an actress to marry a toyboy without appearing at the wedding, does seem rather peculiar, however.

But Italian screen legend Gina Lollobrigida, 85, claims she is pressing charges against an ex-flame who "married" her without her knowing to get his hands on her inheritance. The actress said Spanish businessman Francisco Javier Rigau Ràfols, who was 44 when the two were together in 2006-7, swindled a court into making him the recipient of her estate.

"I may have been conned by Javier, a vile person who married me by proxy in Spain without my knowledge and without my consent in order to inherit my estate after my death," said the 1950s sex symbol, best known for her role as the seductive queen in Solomon and Sheba.

Lollobrigida told authorities in Rome that it was she who was seduced and betrayed, though, when Rigau conned her into signing documents that gave him power of attorney over her. Thus armed, he popped over to Barcelona to register the couple as spouses, according to reports in the Italian newspapers.

Lollobrigida said legal documents published online indicate the wedding was celebrated on 29 November, 2010 in the presence of eight witnesses. She said: "International investigations will take place because I want to shed light on this squalid affair and all the people involved."

Lollobrigida's agent, Andrea Piazzolla, was reported as saying that Rigau had performed similar cons in the past.