Legendary French actor denies rape claims
LEGENDARY French actor Gérard Depardieu has been accused of sexual assault and rape, a judicial source told news agency AFP.
The Paris prosecutor's office has launched a preliminary investigation for "rape and sexual assault" against the iconic film 69-year-old star, who "absolutely disputes" the allegations, reports Le Parisien.
The official said a woman, a comedian and dancer, in her early 20s filed a complaint on Monday near the southern city of Aix-en-Provence and the case was assigned to Paris prosecutors yesterday.
She alleged she was abused in Depardieu's Parisian mansion flat between August 7 and 13.
His lawyer Hervé Témime told BFMTV his client "absolutely denies any attack, any rape".
"Gerard Depardieu is shaken, this accusation is the opposite of what he is and what he respects," he said.
"He is totally stunned by this complaint."
Depardieu, 69, is France's biggest international star and has made more than 180 films.
A controversial and larger-than-life character, he became the very face of French cinema due to roles in films such as Cyrano de Bergerac for which won best actor at the Cannes film festival and was nominated for an Oscar.
He made his name in the 1974 film Going Places after which he enjoyed a meteoric rise, demonstrating talent and allure in wide-ranging roles in classics, dramas and comedies alike.
The French judicial official says the rape and sexual assault accusations against Depardieu are the subject of a preliminary investigation.
In January 2013, Depardieu became a Russian citizen after complaining of high French taxes.