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French actor Gérard Depardieu under investigation over rape accusation

Gérard Depardieu is a 73 year old actor who is considered an icon of French cinema. He has appeared in some 170 films, getting his big break in 1973 with Les Valseuses. He won the best actor award for Cyrano De Bergerac at Cannes in 1990, and was nominated for an Oscar for the same role. He’s also famous for his role as “Obelix” in the film Asterix et Obelix: Mission Cleopatre based on the iconic comic books Asterix & Obelix.

He has been formally placed under investigation over accusations that he raped and sexually assaulted an actress at his home three years ago. The woman accuses him of raping and assaulting her in Paris in August 2018.

His lawyer told French news agency AFP that Mr Depardieu “totally dispute[d]” the allegation, and the investigation should not have been made public.

An initial investigation into the rape allegations was dropped in 2019, with prosecutors citing insufficient evidence, but was reopened last summer. Prosecutors formally placed Mr Depardieu under investigation in December 2020.

He is free but under judicial supervision.

Depardieu’s lawyer, Hervé Temime, told CNN the actor disputes the allegations of wrongdoing and reminds of the presumption of innocence and that this case was initially dropped last June.

Temime said in 2018 when Depardieu was first accused that his client was “shocked” by the accusation and “totally denies any assault, any rape and any criminal act.” He added then, “I have strong elements to show that no offense took place,” and that the offense was “the opposite” of Depardieu’s personality.

Also in 2018, Temime confirmed that Depardieu knows the woman who accused him, but denied he was with her during the dates mentioned in the complaint.

Off-screen, Depardieu also made headlines in recent years for attacking French tax laws and moving to Belgium in protest.

In 2013, he took Russian citizenship, with his decree of naturalisation signed personally by President Vladimir Putin.

Depardieu in one of his most famous roles Cyrano de Bergerac released in 1990.

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