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Marks picked for US ambassador to South Africa

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A former Bermuda resident nominated by Donald Trump to be the American ambassador to South Africa was convicted of immigration violations on the island.

Lana Marks, now a designer of luxury handbags and President Trump's pick for the top US post in South Africa, was found guilty along with her husband Neville Marks of employing Lucia King, a black South African nanny, without immigration approval.

Ms Marks, then aged 28, was also convicted on two counts of submitting false immigration documents.

Both were given a 12-month conditional discharge, but were later cleared on appeal.

The late Lois Browne Evans, the couple's lawyer and the Opposition leader at the time, launched an appeal against the 1982 conviction.

Dame Lois eventually withdrew from the case.

The Supreme Court convictions against Dr Marks and his wife were quashed by the Court of Appeal after just ten minutes of deliberation in July 1983.

But Dr Marks, at the time Bermuda's only private psychiatrist, was ordered to leave the country just a week before the appeal was heard after his work permit was not renewed.

Dr Marks also took legal action against the ministry over the work permit refusal.

But the Privy Council, Bermuda's final court of appeal, in July 1985 refused to grant Dr Marks permission to appeal a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Government's decision to not renew his work permit.

The couple lived at Silver Dollar, on Knapton Hill, Smith's, for many years, and now live in Palm Beach, Florida.

Ms Marks was born in East London, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Her website said she studied with the Royal Academy of Ballet and that she competed in international tennis tournaments — including the French Open.

But she told a South African newspaper that she had studied ballet at the Royal Academy's South African affiliate in her home town.

South African business publication Business Day also cast doubt on her claim to have competed in the French Open.

The paper said their reporters had been unable to find any record of her having played in the tournament.

Lana Marks in her tennis-playing days
Lana Marks in her tennis-playing days

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Published October 04, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated October 05, 2018 at 2:36 pm)

Marks picked for US ambassador to South Africa

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