Actor Gérard Depardieu accused of rape

Actor Gérard Depardieu accused of rape

Paris public prosecutor's office has opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations against Depardieu after a complaint.

Depardieu (69), who is one of France's most prolific and prominent actors, has been in almost 170 movies and gained worldwide recognition in 1990 with his starring role in the English language comedy Green Card in which he starred with Andie MacDowell.

Gerard Depardieu's lawyer has dismissed allegations the French actor raped and sexually assaulted a 22-year-old woman earlier this month.

"I had a long meeting with Gérard Depardieu and I am absolutely convinced his innocence will be established", Depardieu's lawyer, Herve Temime, told France Info Radio.

According to the BBC, the unnamed actress initially made a statement to police in Lambesc, southern France, and the case was then passed to prosecutors in Paris.

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The young woman was studying at a school where Depardieu is teaching, according to BFM.

In the French judicial system, Depardieu would be placed under formal investigation if officials find grounds for pursuing the matter further.

Depardieu is one of France's biggest global stars and has taken part in more than 170 films. In 1990, he received his first Academy Award nomination for Cyrano de Bergerac and was awarded a Golden Globe for Green Card.

The actor, he said, was "shaken" by the allegations, which went against "everything he is and respects".

In recent years, the outspoken actor has drawn Western criticism for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.