French actor Gérard Depardieu denies rape charges

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By Euronews  with AFP
Gerard Depardieu at the Berlin Film Festival in 2016
Gerard Depardieu at the Berlin Film Festival in 2016   -   Copyright  AP Photo

"I am innocent and I have nothing to fear," Gérard Depardieu told Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Thursday. 

The comments come after the Paris prosecutor's office revealed earlier this week that the French actor was placed under formal investigation for rape in December. 

"There are no proofs, there is nothing against me," Depardieu said, adding that he will declare his innocence in court on March 10. 

The investigation that was first closed by prosecutors in June 2019 due to lack of evidence is being relaunched.

The case refers to an actress in her twenties who has accused the star of sexually assaulting her twice in August 2018.

In August last year prosecutors in Paris asked for the investigation into rape allegations against France's famed actor to be reopened.

The female actor first reported her allegations to police in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence, who opened a preliminary probe which was then passed onto prosecutors in Paris.

She relaunched proceedings by acting as an "injured party" which under French law will likely lead to a case being examined by an investigating magistrate.

During an interrogation on December 16, the magistrate found that there was "serious or corroborating evidence" that the actor, now 72 years old, may have committed the crimes he’s accused of, so he was put under investigation for "rape" and "sexual assault", AFP learned on Tuesday from a source close to the case, confirmed by a judicial source.

The actor's lawyer, Hervé Témime, contacted by AFP, "deplored the fact that this information is made public".

Gérard Depardieu, who was not detained when placed under investigation, "totally contests the facts against him," his lawyer said.

On the record, the young actress accused Depardieu of two rapes and sexual assaults that allegedly took place at the star's Parisian home, a private mansion in the 6th arrondissement, on 7 and 13 August 2018.

Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship at the beginning of 2013.