Spain court rules 43-year-old man is son of Julio Iglesias

Daniel SILVA
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Javier Sanchez Santos fought a longrunning battle to establish his claim that he is the son of Spanish singer Julio Iglesias

A Spanish court ruled Wednesday that Grammy award-winning singer Julio Iglesias is the biological father of a 43-year-old man who has waged a protracted paternity battle with the star.

The judge in the case refused to admit DNA evidence obtained surreptitiously by a private detective working for the claimant and his lawyer.

But he ruled that the man's mother had provided credible details of her affair with the singer and also cited the physical resemblance between the two men.

Iglesias himself has always refused to give DNA evidence to settle the dispute.

His other children include the Latin pop superstar Enrique Iglesias.

The case was brought by Javier Sanchez Santos, the son of Portuguese former ballerina Maria Edite, who says she had a brief affair with Iglesias in 1975.

After examining the paternity suit, a judge at a court in the eastern city of Valencia "declares that Julio Iglesias is his biological father", the court said in a statement.

Edite told the court that she had a one-week affair with Iglesias in Catalonia in Spain's northeast in July 1975 and that nine months later Javier was born, said Sanchez's lawyer, Fernando Osuna.

The singer's defence team had argued that the trial should not take place since the case had already gone to court before and was dismissed in 1992. The 75-year-old singer did not attend the trial.

But Osuna had argued a new trial was justified as they had "DNA evidence" brought from the United States by a detective.

- DNA evidence rejected -

The detective managed to get close to the singer's son Julio Iglesias Junior while he was surfing in Miami and picked up a bottle of water that was used in a DNA test, the lawyer said.

That test showed that Julio Iglesias Jr and Sanchez were brothers, Osuna claimed.

When Sanchez filed the paternity suit in 2017 he told reporters gathered outside the Valencia courthouse that the DNA evidence "indicates with an accuracy of 99.9 percent that I am his son and that my mother has always told the truth."

The judge refused to admit the DNA evidence obtained by the detective.

But he ruled that Edite had provided "very concrete" information about the location and description of the chalet where Iglesias was staying when she says she had an affair with the singer.

The judge also said there was evidence that Iglesias and Edite had contact at around the time that Sanchez was conceived, which means that "the possibility that sexual relations took place between them is not unlikely nor preposterous."

He also cited the "obvious physical resemblance" between Iglesias and Sanchez -- and the singer's steadfast refusal to carry out a DNA test despite evidence of the affair.

Iglesias's lawyer, Fernando Falomir, told AFP his client will appeal the ruling on the grounds that the issue had already been "resolved" by the courts.

- 'Obsession for sex' -

Sanchez, who is married and lives in Italy, has said in previous media interviews that he suffered bullying as a youth because of his claim that he was the singer's son.

He has enjoyed modest success as a singer and DJ. In 1999 he released an album called "Lucha y Veras", or "Fight and You Will See", which was seen as a reference to his paternity battle.

Iglesias is known for his romantic ballads and a prolific love life that has long been fodder for tabloid headlines. He has sold over 300 million albums in his decades-long career.

He has been married twice.

His first marriage was to Spanish socialite Isabel Preysler with whom he had three children -- including pop star Enrique.

He has five other children with his current wife, Miranda Rijnsburger.

Iglesias has often presented himself as an unapologetic flirt with "an obsession for sex".

"Don't ask me how many brothers I have," his son Julio Jr said in 2018 on television. "I don't even know myself."