Swiss court grants Polanski bail: official
GENEVA — Switzerland’s top criminal court said Wednesday it had granted bail to film-maker Roman Polanski, saying his offer of 4.5 million francs (4.5 million dollars, 3.0 million euros) and to go under house arrest was enough to prevent his escape.
“With decision dated November 24, 2009 the Swiss Federal Criminal Court has granted Roman Polanski’s appeal against detention pending extradition,” to the US for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl, the court said in a statement.
“The court considered the bail in the amount of 4.5 million Swiss francs offered by Polanski together with supporting measures — deposit of identity papers, house arrest under electronic monitoring — as being sufficient to avert the risk of flight,” it said.
The court added that the bail sum offered was a “substantial portion of Polanski’s fortune.”
“Regarding his advanced age in the case of loss of said bail the possibility of re-accumulation of fortune in this amount would not be certain,” it noted.
The 76-year-old director has been regarded as a fugitive by US authorities since he fled the United States in 1978 after admitting to having sex with the under-age girl.
He was detained by Swiss police acting on a US extradition warrant when he went to Zurich to collect an award at the city’s film festival in September.
Polanski’s earlier request to be freed on bail was turned down by both the criminal court and Swiss Justice Ministry which assessed that the risk of flight was too high.
Following the latest court’s decision on Wednesday, Folco Galli, spokesman of the Swiss Justice Ministry said the ministry will “decide quickly” whether to accept the court’s decision or appeal against it.
Polanski’s French lawyer, Georges Kiejman, said he was “very happy, especially for his children.”
According to Kiejman, Polanski “will justify the bail sum asked by the Swiss justice authority, and he will apparently be placed under house arrest at his residence in Gstaad, where he has a chalet.”
The United States has formally asked Switzerland to extradite Polanski and Swiss authorities have yet to say if they would accept the request.
Lawyers for the director of movie classics “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown” are due to ask a California appeals court on December 10 to dismiss the child sex conviction against Polanski, legal sources have said.