Three people are under investigation for publishing the infamous topless Kate Middleton photos that made headlines last year.

The chief executive of the Mondadori Group, Ernesto Mauri, General Director Marc Auburtin and photographer Valerie Suau, from La Provence newspaper, all face breach of privacy charges for printing images in Closer magazine of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing in her swimwear.

"The photographer and legal representatives of both companies have been questioned concerning the photographing of a person on private property and the criminal use of these images," a spokesman for the prosecutor in the case said.

All three individuals could face up to 45,000 euros if deemed guilty, and the publications – La Provene and Closer magazine -- could be closed for up to five years.

According to the Inquisitr, the newspaper says that it is being unfairly lumped together with the magazine, claiming that they did not publish topless pictures of Middleton.

The newspaper issued a statement, saying: ” La Provence maintains that the photos it published (by Valerie Suau) … show Kate Middleton and her husband in bathing suits and are not topless on the terrace of the Château d’Autet. … These photos are not indecent at all and do not invade the privacy of the prince and his wife.”

However the magazine published indecent pictures of Middleton in France, according to the Inquisitr, which ended up getting published in several international magazines.

The royal family expressed outrage upon learning about the photos, prompting their own legal proceedings.

“The ongoing legal process is a matter for the French authorities,” said a spokesman for St. James’ Palace.