FRENCH actor Gerard Depardieu, 72, has been charged with raping a 22-year-old actress
He was accused of the attack in 2018 but the case was dropped in 2019 due to a lack of evidence.
However in 2020, the actress and author relaunched the proceedings, leading to criminal charges filed in December, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.
The 72-year-old was accused of raping the young actress in his home in Paris between August 7 and 13 2018.
At the time of the incident, Depardieu’s lawyer Herve Temime said his client, who was 69 at the time, denies the alleged crimes “absolutely”.
He added: “I had a long meeting with Gerard and am convinced his innocence will be established.”
His victim had known Depardieu before the alleged offences.
In 2013 he was pictured hugging Vladimir Putin after being handed his Russian passport.
He left France to avoid a new 75 per cent tax rate for earnings over £813,000 per year.
Putin said Depardieu would be welcome in his country — which has a 13 per cent flat rate.
He was one of the top showbiz names who faced sexual harassment and assault claims as part of the #MeToo movement.
French-born Depardieu, who has made more than 180 films, was nominated for an Oscar for his title role in 1990’s Cyrano de Bergerac and won a Golden Globe best comedy actor award in 1991 for box office hit Green Card. But he has had a chequered past off-screen.
He spent time in prison for car theft during his childhood, then in 2011 he urinated in a bottle on a flight from Paris to Dublin.
The next year he was accused of punching a motorist in Paris, then was arrested for drunk driving after falling off his scooter.