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French actor Depardieu ‘absolutely denies’ rape allegations

AFP file photo | Gérard Depardieu, 69, one of France's most famous actors.

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.

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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)

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