Swiss court grants Roman Polanski bail

Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:56pm EST
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By Jason Rhodes

ZURICH (Reuters) - A Swiss court on Wednesday approved the release of Roman Polanski on bail of 4.5 million Swiss francs ($4.49 million) while the film director fights extradition to the United States over a 1970s child sex case.

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court ordered Polanski, 76, to surrender his identity papers and said he would remain under house arrest under electronic monitoring pending the outcome of his extradition case.

"The court considered bail in the amount of 4.5 million Swiss francs offered by Polanski, together with supporting measures, as being sufficient to avert the risk of flight," the court said in a statement.

It noted the sum was a "substantial portion" of Polanski's fortune and said the director had raised the cash from a French bank using his Paris apartment as security.

Polanski's legal counsel had argued that the potential loss of fortune would prevent the director fleeing, the court said.

The filmmaker was aware "that he would lose face to the public, which followed him with the eyes of Argus, if he did not uphold his promise," his lawyer had argued, referring to the many-eyed giant of Greek mythology.

Polanski's sister-in-law, French actress Mathilde Seigner, greeted the news with relief and said there was no danger the director would flee.

"He's a 76 year-old man, he isn't 40," she told Europe 1 radio. "Of course he wouldn't escape, it's absolutely absurd to imagine it."   Continued...