The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary investigation into a former French Minister of the Environment over a series of accusations leveled against him in a recent televised investigation.
At least six women have accused environmentalist Nicolas Hulot of acts ranging from sexual assault to rape. Three of them described his actions in a France 2 broadcast on November 25. Correspondent.
Hulot has denied any wrongdoing, saying the women’s claims are false.
Following the special broadcast, the Paris prosecutor’s office “today opened a preliminary investigation into the counts of rape and sexual assault,” said prosecutor Laure Beccuau in a statement.
The investigation will determine whether the facts “characterize a criminal offense and whether, given the timetable, the limitation period for public action has passed”.
The prosecutor often opens investigations into charges of sexual violence against minors even if the statute of limitations has expired.
One of the women who spoke out against Hulot was only 16 when she said Hulot sexually assaulted her in 1989 after appearing on a radio show with him. At the time, he was a well-known journalist.
Hulot told BFM-TV ahead of the broadcast of the hour-long special inquiry that “in the world we live in, being innocent no longer allows us to sleep peacefully.”
“I did not commit these acts. These assertions are purely false,” he added, adding that there was no proof because the statute of limitations had expired on the events.
The France 2 show also highlighted a 2008 rape complaint against the former minister filed by the granddaughter of French President François Mitterrand, 11 years after she claimed Hulot had raped her.
A French magazine reported the complaint in 2018 while Hulot was still Minister of the Environment in Emmanuel Macron’s government.