Rape investigation against French actor Gérard Depardieu to be reopened

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A rape investigation against French actor Gérard Depardieu will be reopened after his accuser refiled her complaint when prosecutors dropped a previous inquiry, sources close to the case told AFP on Wednesday.

The accuser, an actress in her 20s who accuses Depardieu of raping and assaulting her at his Parisian home in August 2018, refiled a complaint after prosecutors dropped the case in June 2019, citing a lack of evidence.

After she reported her allegations against the celebrated actor -- who is 71 and denies any wrongdoing -- prosecutors in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence opened a preliminary investigation which they then passed on to their Paris colleagues.

The Paris probe was dropped after nine months after investigators said they had failed to assemble enough proof to proceed to formal charges.

The actress later refiled her claims, which under French law almost always leads to a case being examined by an investigating magistrate.

A source close to the investigation said Wednesday that the decision had now formally been taken. It was also confirmed by a judicial source.

Depardieu's lawyer, Herve Temime, said he had not been informed of the case's reopening, but called it a "non-event, as it is an automatic decision" that an investigating magistrate be appointed.

Depardieu, a superstar in France thanks to films like "Cyrano de Bergerac," "Jean de Florette" and "Camille Claudel," has also had a successful international career, working among others with Peter Weir in "Green Card" and with Ridley Scott in "1492."

He holds both French and Russian citizenship -- acquiring the latter in 2013 to protest a proposed tax hike on the rich in his homeland.

(AFP)