November 27, 2009 / 10:03 AM / 9 years ago

FACTBOX: Roman Polanski to be released on bail

(Reuters) - Roman Polanski, the Oscar-winning film director arrested in Zurich over a U.S. charge of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, will be released on bail of 4.5 million Swiss francs ($4.49 million), the Swiss Federal Criminal Court said on Wednesday.

The Swiss Justice Ministry said Polanski would not be freed immediately. Swiss television quoted Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf as saying she saw no reason to appeal against the court’s decision.

Here are some key facts about Polanski, who has French and Polish citizenship.


* Polanski is wanted in the United States after pleading guilty in 1977 to having sex with the 13-year-old Samantha Gailey (now Geimer), at the home of actor Jack Nicholson.

— Under a plea agreement, Polanski would have been sentenced to the 42 days he had already served in jail under psychiatric evaluation.

* Polanski believed the judge, who has since died, might disregard the agreement and require him to spend years in jail, so he skipped bail in 1978 and fled to France before sentence was pronounced.

* A 2008 documentary film, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” looked at the case in detail. It included interviews with Geimer and lawyers involved in the case. Also in 2008, Polanski’s lawyers sought to have the case dismissed based on an idea advanced in the film that there had been prosecutorial and judicial misconduct 30 years earlier.

* In an interview to promote the film, Geimer told Reuters: “I don’t think he’s a danger to society and I don’t think he needs to be locked up forever, and no one has ever come out, ever, besides me and accused him of anything.”

* Earlier this year, Polanski’s lawyers lost their application for a dismissal when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza ruled their legal motion disclosed no legal grounds for disqualification of the original case.


* Born Raymond Polanski to Polish-Jewish parents on August 18, 1933, he spent the first three years of his life in Paris before the family returned to Poland.

* In World War Two, when the Germans sealed off the Jewish ghetto in Krakow in 1940, his father shouted to Roman to run and he escaped. His mother died later in an Auschwitz gas chamber.

* In August 1969, Polanski’s wife, actress Sharon Tate, and six other people, were hacked to death by followers of cult leader Charles Manson at his Hollywood home.


* His first full-length feature film after graduation, “Knife in the Water,” won several awards and, most important for Polanski, was his ticket to Hollywood.

* Few directors have laid bare their inner fantasies and fears like Polanski in films which have included “Repulsion,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Tenant” — films of disturbing brutality shot through with voyeurism and dark humor.

* In 1974, Polanski had another major Hollywood success with “Chinatown,” a stylish thriller starring Jack Nicholson.

* Polanski won a best director Oscar for his 2002 Holocaust film “The Pianist,” as well as the Cannes film festival’s Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) in the same year.

* Harrison Ford, who was presenting the Oscar, accepted it on Polanski’s behalf because the director could not travel to Los Angeles because of the criminal proceedings. The audience gave Polanski a standing ovation.

* He is married to French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, with whom he has two children.

Editing by Andrew Dobbie

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