Angry lawyer insists De Niro never paid for sex
ROBERT De Niro's lawyer yesterday insisted that the American actor had ``never in his life paid a woman'' for sex.And he criticised a French investigator for forcing him to undergo nine hours of questioning on Tuesday in connection with an international prostitution racket.
Georges Kiejman, a former French Justice Minister, said that Mr De Niro had been interrogated about his relations with three young women believed to be part of the network.
``As for the first two, he replied that he had only shaken hands with them, and as for the third, his response is censored,'' Mr Kiejman said with a smile, apparently suggesting that the 54-year-old actor had had a non-commercial relationship with her. ``He's a charming man. Young women are introduced to him all the time. He has a right to a private life.''
The lawyer said Mr De Niro was angry at the way he had been treated by Frederic N'Guyen, the French magistrate leading the investigation. ``The name Robert De Niro is like a jewel to an investigator,'' Mr Kiejman said, adding that Mr N'Guyen was using the film star to publicise himself and his investigation.
Mr Kiejman has filed a lawsuit against Mr N'Guyen, accusing the magistrate of breaking the rules of judicial secrecy by leaking information, and also of unlawfully restricting the actor's freedom.
The magistrate, he said, had deliberately provoked a ``media circus'' by sending eight policemen to detain the film star and then subjecting him to a full day of interrogation when the interview ``should have taken no more than half an hour''. Kiejman said that Mr De Niro had already made clear his willingness to be interviewed before police arrived in force at his hotel.
The huge vice investigation became public last February after the arrest of Nazihabdulatif al-Ladki, a Lebanese businessman, Annika Brumark, a former Swedish model, and Jean-Pierre Bourgeois, a French soft-porn photographer the three suspected ringleaders of a lucrative international call-girl ring, whose clients allegedly included Saudi millionaires, sheikhs, arms dealers and international jewellers.
Mr al-Ladki's address book was described by Le Monde as ``a veritable who's who of international pleasure-seekers'' from the US, Britain, Bosnia, Indonesia and Morocco as well as the Gulf states. Mr Kiejman conceded that Mr De Niro's name might have been included in it, but insisted that his connection to the case was ``incidental and innocent''.
The scandal has caused diplomatic strains between France and the Gulf states after claims that prominent Arabs, paying up to £5,000, are among the clients.
(The Times London)