French actor Gérard Depardieu has been accused of rape and sexual assault by a 22-year-old woman, a spokesman for the Paris prosecutor told CNN on Thursday.
“The Paris public prosecutor’s office is making a preliminary investigation on counts of rape and sexual assault,” the spokesman said.
In the French judicial system, Depardieu would be placed under formal investigation if officials find grounds for pursuing the matter further.
Depardieu has appeared in films like “Green Card,” “The Man in the Iron Mask” and “Life of Pi.” He was also nominated for an Oscar in 1991 for his leading role in “Cyrano de Bergerac.”
Depardieu’s lawyer Herve Temime told CNN’s affiliate BFMTV that his client was “shocked” by the accusation and “totally denies any assault, any rape and any criminal act.”
“I have strong elements to show that no offense took place,” Temime said, adding that the offense was “the opposite” of Depardieu’s personality.
The complaint was filed on August 27 and went to the Paris prosecutor on August 29.
“I regret that this investigation was not kept secret as usual,” Temime added.
Temime confirmed that the French actor knows the woman in question, but denied he was with her during the dates mentioned in the complaint.
Depardieu’s most recent credits include several French films and an animated movie co-starring Logan Lerman and Helena Bonham Carter called “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.”
In 2013, the French movie icon was granted Russian citizenship by Vladimir Putin.