A complaint against Luc Besson, the French director of ‘The Fifth Element’ and ‘Lucy’, was dismissed by a Paris judge after a lengthy judicial investigation.
A source close to the Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed to Variety that the case, which arose out of two complaints to the police filed in May and July 2018 by Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy accusing Besson of having raped her, had been closed without follow-up.
The judicial inquiry included hearings of witnesses, including Besson’s ex-wife, actor-director Mai-wenn, with whom he has a daughter; and his former partner Anne Parillaud, actress with whom he has two children. It also included expert reports from the civil party and the questioning of Besson.
The judge made the final decision to close the case based on the prosecutor’s recommendation.
Besson’s lawyer, Thierry Marembert, said: “After a procedure that lasted three and a half years during which many witnesses were questioned and during which a cross-examination of Besson and Van Roy took place, the judge had decided to definitively close this case against Luc Besson who denied these accusations from the beginning.
“The Paris prosecutor’s office had previously declared that investigations showed that the criminal acts of r * pe had not been committed, that the absence of consent had not been demonstrated and that the presence of coercion, a threat and violence had not been characterized. “
A source close to Besson told Variety that âLuc Besson has been fighting these false allegations for three years. He hopes that after being set aside from his presumption of innocence, his innocence will be respected. He now intends to devote himself to making films â.
Besson’s latest film, ‘Anna’, which is also the last film produced by his company EuropaCorp, was released in 2019.
The Paris prosecutor dismissed r * pe’s allegations against Besson in February 2019, citing a lack of evidence after a nine-month preliminary investigation following Van Roy’s initial charges in 2018.
Thursday’s decision follows a civil complaint that Van Roy’s lawyer Francis Szpiner filed a month after the February 2019 layoff.
Szpiner argued that the preliminary investigation conducted between May 2018 and February 2019 by the Paris prosecutor’s office had been rushed and incomplete. A new independent judge was then appointed, reopened the case and examined all the elements of the prosecutor’s investigation.
Van Roy wrote on her Twitter account that she was “suing judge Marie-Claire Noiriel for forgery”.
She said she had never met Noiriel throughout the process.
Szpiner, meanwhile, said on franceinfo radio that her client would appeal the ruling and called the judge “Besson’s best lawyer.”
The actress, who played a small role in “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”, claimed that she and Besson had an abusive affair which started on the set of “Valerian” and culminated in r * pe on the night of May 17. , 2018, at the Bristol hotel in Paris.
She then filed a second complaint on July 6, 2018, accusing Besson of repeated violent sex between March 2016 and May 2018.
Besides Van Roy, eight other women, two former assistants, two casting directors, two students, an actress and a former model who aspired to become an actress, Karine Isambert, approached the French investigative magazine Mediapart with allegations of sexual misconduct. by Besson.
But only Van Roy filed a complaint with the police.
EuropaCorp, which was already in financial difficulty before the rape allegations, finalized a restructuring deal with New York-based Vine Alternative Investments in February 2020.
Vine has given EuropaCorp a new line of credit of $ 100 million to allow it to develop a list of films and resume production.
Even though his last films, “Valerian” and “Anna” have underperformed, Besson is known for making some of the highest-grossing independent films of the past 30 years, including worldwide English hits such as “The Professional” with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman, “The Fifth Element” with Milla Jovovich and Bruce Willis, and “Lucy” with Scarlett Johansson.
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