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French prosecutors drop rape case against actor Depardieu

Prosecutors probing French star Gerard Depardieu over allegations that he raped a young actress have closed the case due to lack of evidence to back up the claims, the Paris prosecutor's office said Tuesday.

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"A number of investigations undertaken as part of this procedure have not enabled us to characterise the crimes alleged in all of their individual parts," the prosecutor's office said.

Depardieu, star of The Last Metro and the Asterix and Obelix films, was accused of raping and assaulting a 22-year-old French actress at his mansion in Paris's chic 6th district between August 7 and 13 last year.

The allegations came in the wake of scandals involving prominent men following rape and assault claims levelled against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement which spread worldwide.

Depardieu had always maintained his innocence.

In February, French prosecutors also dropped their investigation into rape allegations against film director Luc Besson, the author of "Nikita" and "The Fifth Element".

Depardieu has drawn criticism in the West in recent years for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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