French Actor Gérard Depardieu Accused of Rape

French actor Gerard Depardieu arrives for a ceremony to honnour French actor Gerard Depardieu at the Palace part of the'Brussels International Film Festival, Monday 25 June 2018 in Brussels. BELGA

The Russian reaction to the allegations against Depardieu echo the country's responses to the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment charges.

In the meantime, Depardieu and his legal team have released a statement denying the accusations against him.

A source said the Paris public prosecutor's office had opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations against Depardieu following a complaint lodged on Monday in southern Aix-en-Provence.

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A prolific actor having made more than 180 films, Depardieu became the very face of French cinema due to roles in films such as "Cyrano de Bergerac" for which won best actor at the Cannes film festival and was nominated for an Oscar.

Depardieu is one of France's biggest global stars and has taken part in more than 170 films.

According to a French media report, the allegations come from a 22-year old French actress.

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The report questions why the unnamed accuser filed charges several weeks after the alleged August 7 and August 13 incidents when she had visited one of Depardieu's Paris homes.

Depardieu is the second major French film industry figure to be accused of sexual assault, following prominent French director Luc Besson. The case was then taken to prosecutors in Paris.

Depardieu's lawyer, Herve Temime, has shot down her claims, stating he is convinced his client will be exonerated of any crime upon the completion of an investigation. The young woman is understood to be a protégé of Depardieu's and also the daughter of the famous actor's friend. He rose to worldwide fame when he bagged a Golden Globe for his 1990 role as Georges in the romantic comedy Green Card.

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