Luc Besson Cleared Of Renewed Rape Claims In Latest Paris Probe, For Now
A French judge has spared Luc Besson further charges for now in allegations of rape brought against the director by actress Sand Van Roy
The decision today follows a closed hearing in Paris before an examining magistrate just hours ago. Lasting five hours, the hearing before examining magistrate Marie-Claire Noiriel was just with the Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets director and his lawyer Thierry Marembert. Walking out the Paris courthouse with no indictment against him, the EuropaCorp founder has been declared an “assisted witness.”
Under French law, an “assisted witness” is roughly defined as an individual who is not under formal investigation, but could still be implicated by evidence to have committed the offense they are alleged to have committed. Yet, in what appears to be the best possible outcome for Besson right now, today’s decision effectively begins the potential end of the nearly three year matter for the filmmaker.
“This hearing in Paris is part of ongoing judicial proceedings that began with an investigation by the police and public prosecutor, which exonerated Luc Besson and found that no criminal acts had been committed,” EuropaCorp’s USA attorney Michael Kump told Deadline this morning. “Mr. Besson continues to fully cooperate with the authorities and to deny all accusations made against him, and he looks forward to clearing his name.”
Back in February 2019, French prosecutors dropped their initial probe of Van Rpy’s sexual assault claims against the much accused Besson. The investigation was shuttered at the time because of insufficient evidence, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
Van Roy alleged in 2018 she had been raped multiple times by Besson, director of Valerian, Nikita, Leon and The Fifth Element. In response, Besson had called Van Roy’s claims “fantasist accusations.” She had minor roles in Besson’s Taxi 5 and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. After Van Roy’s complaint, eight other women came forward with accusations against Besson too.
In October 2019, a judge ordered the latest investigation after new charges against Besson were raised in the Van Roy matter.
Amidst the investigations and another case involving the unlawful axing of Besson’s longtime assistant, Axel Duroux was been named CEO of EuropaCorp last August. As the troubled French film giant reeled from the scandals and less than stellar box office performance, Besson was shuffled in the summer to the newly-formed role of non-executive chairman with Artistic Director duties.
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