Prosecutors ask for Depardieu rape case to be reopened
French actor Gerard Depardieu was given Russian citizenship in 2013 by President Vladimir Putin after publicly criticising France's high taxes and taking up residence abroad (AFP Photo/Valery Hache)

Paris prosecutors said Saturday they had asked for an investigation into rape allegations against French actor Gerard Depardieu to be reopened after an earlier probe was dropped last year.

An actress in her 20s accuses Depardieu of assaulting and raping her in his Paris home in August 2018.

After she reported her allegations against the celebrated actor -- who is 71 and who denies any wrongdoing -- prosecutors in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence opened a preliminary investigation which they then passed on to their Paris colleagues.

The Paris probe was dropped after nine months in early 2019 after investigators failed to assemble enough proof to proceed to formal charges.

But now the actress has relaunched proceedings by acting as an "injured party" which under French law almost always leads to a case being examined by an investigating magistrate.

Depardieu's lawer, Herve Temime, declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Depardieu, who is a superstar in France thanks to films like "Cyrano de Bergerac", "Jean de Florette" and "Camille Claudel", has also had a successful international career, working among others with Peter Weir in "Green Card" and with Ridley Scott in "1492".

He holds French and Russian citizenship.