French actor Depardieu placed under sexual violence investigation

The judicial source said Depardieu had been placed under formal investigation on December 16 last year and that he had not been held in custody or asked to post bail.

Actor Gerard Depardieu poses during a photocall to promote the movie 'Saint Amour' at the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany February 19, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS/STEFANIE LOOS/FILE PHOTO)
Actor Gerard Depardieu poses during a photocall to promote the movie 'Saint Amour' at the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany February 19, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS/STEFANIE LOOS/FILE PHOTO)
French actor Gerard Depardieu was placed under formal investigation on charges of rape and sexual violence in December last year, a judicial source told Reuters on Tuesday.
A lawyer representing the 72-year-old Depardieu, one of France's most prolific and famous actors, did not immediately respond to a request for comment left by Reuters at his office.
"Mr. Depardieu was indicted in December 2020, information that had remained secret since then, in accordance with French law. This information became public yesterday, which is regrettable," lawyer Herve Temime said in a statement sent to Reuters.
"Mr. Depardieu is and remains presumed innocent. He strongly contests the accusations against him. The investigation must continue in calm, secrecy and respect for Mr. Depardieu’s presumption of innocence."
In 2019, French prosecutors said they had dropped an investigation into rape allegations against Depardieu, citing insufficient evidence.
The judicial source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Depardieu had been placed under formal investigation on December 16 last year and that he had not been held in custody or asked to post bail.
The source gave no further details on the allegations.
Depardieu has starred in scores of French-language movies, rising to prominence in 1974 with "Going Places", and gained international recognition with a starring role in the 1990 English-language comedy "Green Card." He won a Golden Globe best actor award for that role.
His performance in the French-language "Cyrano de Bergerac" the same year won him the award for best male performance at the Cannes Film Festival, and a nomination in the best leading actor category at the 1990 Academy Awards.
In 2012, Depardieu had a public falling out with the Socialist presidential administration in office in France at the time, accusing it of suppressing talent with the taxes it was levying on high earners.
He said he was handing in his French passport and moving to a home he had bought in Belgium.
In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Depardieu Russian citizenship. The actor received his new passport in person from Putin at the Russian leader's residence on the Black Sea coast.