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Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 07:26 GMT 08:26 UK
Besson investigated for film death
Luc Besson
Besson: Was not on set when the accident happened
French film-maker Luc Besson has been placed under official investigation by authorities after the death of a cameraman during filming.

A judge will decide whether Mr Besson should be charged with manslaughter after the cameraman was hit by a stunt car while filming Taxi 2 in 1999.

Besson, 43, is one of the country's most successful contemporary film-makers, directing hits like The Fifth Element, The Big Blue and Leon.

The cameraman, Alain Dutartre, 41, was killed while filming a car chase scene.

Missed landing

A Peugeot 406 fitted with special air foils had come speeding out of a Paris tunnel and briefly took off, and was due to land in a pile of cardboard.

But it missed its landing spot and hit Dutartre and other crew members.

Dutartre died hours later of massive head injuries, and his assistant, Jean-Michel Bar, 26, suffered two broken legs.

Taxi 2's head stunt co-ordinator, Remy Julienne, was placed under official investigation for manslaughter in April.

He has accused Besson's production company of cutting corners on safety measures, saying they refused to use a remote-controlled camera.

'Absurd'

But Besson denies any wrong-doing, saying his production company followed all safety rules.

He produced Taxi 2, which was directed by Gerard Krawczyk.

Besson did not comment as he left an interview with the investigating judge in Paris's justice court building on Tuesday.

Besson's lawyer, Georges Kiejman, earlier said that some allegations that have been reported in the French media were "partially incorrect".

He said claims that Besson's production company tried to save money on the stunt were "absurd".

Besson was not on set when the accident happened, he added.

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