De Niro Questioned by Police Investigating International Prostitution Ring
Actor questioned as witness to global prostitution ring in 1997
Hollywood actor Robert De Niro was interviewed as a witness as part of a police investigation into an international prostitution ring in 1997, according to reports.
According to court records from 1998, De Niro was questioned only as a witness and occasional client of the network's prostitutes.
The Independent reported: He is suing the investigating magistrate, Frederic N'Guyen Duc Quang, following his highly publicized interrogation; the actor's lawyers accuse the investigator of deliberate publicity-seeking. Messrs Fibak and Sarde are the subjects of a separate judicial investigation.
The client list is also said to have included two senior French center-right politicians, whose names have not been leaked.
Both the French foreign and interior ministries tried to quash or limit the investigation in its early months - the interior ministry because of the possible embarrassment to senior politicians, the foreign ministry because it did not want to upset Middle Eastern buyers of French armaments.
Judge N'Guyen is one of a new breed of judicial investigators in France who refuse to bow (as their predecessors routinely did) to political pressure.
Even so, he only began to make real progress when the center-right French government fell in June last year and was replaced by a Socialist-led government.
According to Judge N'Guyen's report, the photographer, Mr. Bourgeois, hung about Parisian night clubs or casting agencies, scouting for possible victims.
He picked on young women, often teenagers - mostly French, but also from Britain and eastern Europe - and invited them to his apartment in the respectable 17th arrondissement to take trial shots.
After gaining their confidence, the judge alleges, he persuaded them to pose for more revealing pictures.
The girls were then convinced, if possible, that prostitution was the best way to get into modeling or movie careers.
If they refused, they were blackmailed with the threat that the photographs would be sent to their families.
In some cases, they were simply abducted.
Several girls cited in the investigating judge's report accuse Mr. Bourgeois of rape.