January 14, 2015 / 7:23 PM / in 3 years

Polanski questioned over U.S. extradition request: prosecutors

KRAKOW, Poland (Reuters) - Polish prosecutors questioned filmmaker Roman Polanski on Wednesday following a U.S. request for his extradition over a 1977 child sex crime conviction, a spokeswoman said.

Director Roman Polanski poses with his Best Director award for "La Venus A La Fourrure" (Venus in Fur) during a photocall at the 39th Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris February 28, 2014. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Boguslawa Marcinkowska said Polanski was questioned in Krakow where he is making a film.

“In the near future we are planning to forward the (extradition) request to a court.”

Polanski was born to Polish parents but lives in France.

Now 81, he is viewed by many Poles as one of their greatest living cultural figures. Internationally renowned for such films as “Chinatown” and “The Pianist”, Polanski is now in Poland to make a film about the Dreyfus affair, a political scandal that shook France more than a century ago.

Polanski has said he will co-operate with Polish authorities; but a source familiar with the matter said he would fight any extradition proceedings.

According to Polish law, if the court decides that the U.S. request should proceed further, the justice minister will then make the decision on whether to extradite Polanski.

The filmmaker pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sex with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer during a photoshoot in Los Angeles, fueled by champagne and drugs.

Polanski served 42 days in jail as part of a 90-day plea bargain. He fled the United States the following year, believing the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and put him in jail for years.

In 2009, Polanski was arrested in the Swiss city of Zurich on the U.S. warrant and placed under house arrest. He was freed in 2010 after Swiss authorities decided not to extradite him to the United States.

Reporting by Pawel Sobczak; Writing by Wiktor Szary; Editing by Ralph Boulton

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