French actor Gérard Depardieu has been accused of rape and sexual assault by a 22-year-old actress.
French media reports that a preliminary investigation has been launched by the public prosecutor following the allegations, which were first brought to police on Monday in Bouches-du-Rhône in southern France.
“The Paris public prosecutor’s office is making a preliminary investigation on counts of rape and sexual assault,” a spokesperson told CNN.
Depardieu’s lawyer said in an interview with French Info radio that the actor was “shaken” by the allegations and denied them absolutely.
“I had a long meeting with Gérard Depardieu and I am absolutely convinced his innocence will be established,” lawyer Hervé Temime said.
The alleged assault is said to have taken place between 7th and 13th August at Depardieu’s home in Paris.
69-year-old Depardieu is one of French cinema’s most famous faces, having made a career out of playing larger-than-life characters like the soldier-poet Cyrano de Bergerac, for which he won best actor at Cannes in 1990, and the hunchback Jean de Florette.
The unnamed actress was “devastated” by the alleged assaults, according to her agent, who was quoted by French digital news service BFMTV.