'I've never raped a woman,' says French director Besson


Paris (AFP)

French film director Luc Besson on Monday denied raping or drugging a young actress -- the first time the maker of "The Fifth Element" has spoken publicity about the sex allegations against him.

A judge reopened a rape investigation into the movie mogul on Friday, eight months after Paris prosecutors had dropped a case brought by the Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy, who claimed that Besson had repeatedly raped her over a two-year period.

She is one of nine women who have said they were assaulted or harassed by the powerful director and producer.

Van Roy, 28, had minor roles in his "Taxi 5" and "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets".

Besson has admitted having a relationship with Van Roy but dismissed her as a "fantasist".

"This case is a lie from A to Z. I did not rape that woman, I have never raped a woman in my life," he told BFMTV.

"I have never lifted a hand to a woman, I have never threatened a woman... I never drugged this woman as has been said. That is a lie," he said in extracts from the interview, which will be broadcast in full on Tuesday.

- 'I made some mistakes' -

The maker of hits such as "Nikita", whose legal problems have coincided with a run of box office failures, also denied ever harassing women or holding them against their will.

However, Besson, 60, said that he had a relationship with Van Roy and had made "some mistakes".

"I betrayed my wife and my children. It did not only happen once, it happened several times during our 20 years of marriage," he added.

Van Roy first went to the police in May 2018 after spending the night with Besson in a luxury Paris hotel.

Two months later she said that she had been raped four times during over the two years when she had been "in a controlling professional relationship" with the director.

She said she had feared for her career if she complained.

Police questioned Besson about the accusations in October 2018.

One actress later told prosecutors that she had to escape on "her hands and knees" from an audition in Besson's Paris office in 2002.

A source close to the new investigation said preliminary inquiries into accusations by another woman are still underway in Paris.