French actor Depardieu ‘absolutely denies’ rape allegations
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France's biggest international star Gerard Depardieu on Thursday issued a strong denial after it emerged he faces an inquiry into allegations by a young actress of rape and sexual assault.
Depardieu "absolutely denies any attack, any rape", his lawyer Hervé Temime said on his behalf, reacting to news that the Paris public prosecutor's office has opened a preliminary inquiry over alleged "rapes and sexual assaults".
The probe follows a complaint lodged on Monday in southern Provence, according to a judicial source.
French radio RTL said the allegations were made by a 22-year-old actress, who says she was attacked in Depardieu's Paris residence.
"I regret the public nature of this process which poses a major prejudice to Gerard Depardieu, whose innocence I am convinced will be recognised," his lawyer Temime added, calling for restraint on all sides.
A prolific actor having made more than 180 films, Depardieu is known as a larger-than-life character with a life-long penchant for making headlines.
In 2013 he sparked a huge outcry by leaving France and taking Russian nationality in protest at a proposed tax hike on the rich in his homeland.
Russian President Vladimir Putin treated him to a dinner to present him with his new citizenship and Depardieu was subsequently full of praise for the Russian strongman in an interview with the local press.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)