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Gérard Depardieu denies rape accusations

media Gérard Depardieu at the Venice Film Festival last year REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

French actor Gerard Depardieu has been accused of rape and sexual assault. Depardieu's lawyer, Hervé Temime said his client, probably France's best-known film star abroad, denies the allegations.

Paris prosecutors launched an inquiry into the alleged assaults, which are supposed to have taken place at Depardieu's residence in the capital on 7 and 13 August, on Thursday.

The plaintiff, a 22-year-old actress and dancer, filed a complaint against Depardieu on Monday near the southern city of Aix-en-Provence.

The case was then handed over to the Paris prosecutors.

Depardieu's home has been examined but no biological evidence has been found, according to sources talking to Le Parisien newspaper.

Friend of family

The 69-year-old actor is a friend of the young woman's father and agreed to help her with her career, according to Le Parisien.

She claims he assaulted her during informal rehearsals for a play.

She decided to file a complaint after talking to her mother, according to sources, but has declined to speak to the media.

Director's support

"Gérard Depardieu absolutely denies any assault, any rape," Temime told the AFP news agency.

The lawyer complained that he only heard about the accusations when journalists called him for comments and claimed that the "public character" of the inquiry prejudiced his client's case.

Director Dominique Besnehard came to Depardieu's defence on his Facebook page, describing him as a "Rabelaisian, baroque but also considerate personality".

"When will these ambitious aspiring actresses stop making accusations to make themselves known," he asked.

The case comes in the wake of the #Metoo campaign that erupted after allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

French film-maker Luc Besson was accused of rape in May and actor and theatre director Philippe Caubère faced similar accusations in April.

Both deny the charges.

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