Luc Besson at 2018 Berlinale

Luc Besson cleared of all charges in rape case

Luc Besson was cleared of all rape charges in a 2018 case involving actress Sand Van Roy.

The director of “Léon, the Professional” has been accused of raping the Belgian-Dutch actress several times over the course of two years. The Van Roy v Besson case was dismissed in 2021 after an investigation, but the legal charges are now officially dropped by France’s highest court as of June 21, 2023.

“This decision confirms the dismissal in favor of Luc Besson and confirms all decisions in the past five years that have found him not guilty,” Besson’s lawyer Thierry Marambert said in a statement to IndieWire. “Therefore, this proceeding initiated in 2018, during which Luc Besson was systematically acquitted by all the magistrates who examined the case, is finally put to an end. As a lawyer, I welcome this exemplary procedure, which has allowed the manifestation of the truth which is that Luc Besson is innocent.”

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The Cour de Cassation, the national equivalent of the Supreme Court, formally dismissed all charges against Besson in the fourth and final judicial instruction for the case after it was first dismissed in February 2019 following a nine-month investigation on Van Roy’s claims, citing a lack of evidence.

The actress subsequently filed a civil complaint on the same charges in March 2019, which was dropped again after an extensive investigation in December 2021 and involved hearings with witnesses, including Besson’s ex-wife Maïwenn and his ex comrade Anne Parillaud. Besson shares a daughter with Maïwenn and two sons with Parillaud.

Van Roy appealed a second time, with the case now closed. The Cour de Cassation ruling acquitted Besson of all charges and prevented Van Roy from suing him on the same charges in France or elsewhere in Europe (Van Roy had previously attempted to file a lawsuit in Belgium to no avail).

Van Roy, who starred in Besson’s “Valerian,” said he was in an abusive relationship with the director; the actress accused Besson of raping her in a Paris hotel room on May 17, 2018. Since 2018, Besson has been accused of sexual assault by nine different women, including Van Roy, who is the only one who reported complaint.

Besson and his attorney have “categorically denied all charges brought against him” over the past five years since the assault allegations were first made public. Besson’s ex-wife Maïwenn, whose ‘Jeanne du Barry’ recently opened the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, has further addressed the allegations against Besson.

Maïwenn married Besson in 1992 when she was 16 years old. Besson first met Maïwenn when she was 12, and the pair began dating when the actress was 15. Maïwenn said during the 1994 DVD extras for the controversial film “Léon, the Professional” that the The film’s central relationship was inspired by her romance with Besson. The couple divorced in 1997.

In February 2023, Maïwenn was accused of assaulting French journalist Edwy Plenel, editor-in-chief of Mediapart magazine, the publication that first published many of the allegations against Besson. Mediapart published Maïwenn’s testimony to police regarding the allegations against Besson; Maïwenn confirmed that she felt “morally violated” by the article.

“I don’t blame Mediapart for its investigation of Luc Besson; I blame them for what they did to me,” she said, citing the assault against Plenel. “There is no justification for attacking a journalist, but there is no justification for violating a woman’s privacy and trust.” .

For Maïwenn, the director and actress met a journalist from Mediapart in late 2018 for an unrecorded conversation about Besson. Maïwenn further testified during the Van Roy investigation in June 2020 under court order. In early 2021, Paris Match and Mediapart published excerpts of Maïwenn’s testimony without notifying her, despite Mediapart having previously promised to give her 48 hours notice for the sake of her daughter with Besson. Maïwenn filed a civil suit against Paris Match and lost; you have chosen not to file a complaint against Mediapart.

Besson will produce the upcoming action film ‘Weekend Escape Project’ starring Luke Evans and Gwei Lun-mei as also announced this week after the assault case was dismissed.