French president asks Swiss about Polanski case

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called his Swiss counterpart Doris Leuthard partly to inquire about proceedings in filmmaker Roman Polanski's extradition, Leuthard's office said Saturday.

Although the conversation late Friday dealt with Leuthard's scheduled visit to Paris in late June, Sarkozy also asked about the Franco-Polish filmmaker, Swiss economy ministry spokeswoman Evelyn Kobelt said.

Polanski is under house arrest in Switzerland pending Bern's decision on whether he should be sent back to the United States to face a trial over a US child sex case dating back to 1977.

"Federal President Doris Leuthard and French President Nicolas Sarkozy discussed current issues during a telephone conversation that was arranged at short notice late Friday afternoon," the economy ministry said in a statement.

"Federal President Leuthard also informed the French President about the state of extradition proceedings in the case of the United States against Roman Polanski," it added.

The director was arrested in Zurich in September 2009 on a US warrant, and was eventually confined to the grounds of his chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad while he fights extradition.

Swiss authorities said this week that they were still waiting for more information from the United States before they can make a ruling.

Polanski, now 76, is alleged to have given 13-year-old Samantha Geimer champagne and drugs during a 1977 photo shoot in Hollywood before having sex with her despite her protests.

He was hit by fresh allegations Friday after British actress Charlotte Lewis claimed the director "forced himself" upon her just after her 16th birthday, about 26 years ago in his Paris apartment.

Earlier this month, the Oscar-winning director broke his silence on the case, saying in a 900-word statement that US authorities wanted his head "on a platter".

Several filmmakers screening at the Cannes film festival in France have signed a new petition in support of Polanski.

© 2010 AFP

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