Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Saturday, 3 October 2009 12:48 UK

Court reveals Polanski settlement

Roman Polanski
The film-maker has not set foot in the US since 1978

Roman Polanski agreed to pay his victim of sexual assault $500,000, 15 years after he fled the US, according to court documents released to the media.

The French-Polish director is being held in Switzerland on a US arrest warrant over his 1977 conviction for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The confidential deal between Polanski and the victim, Samantha Geimer, was reached in October 1993.

It was disclosed because of a two-year struggle to get the film-maker to pay.

Polanski - who faces extradition to the US - was detained in Switzerland as he travelled from France to collect a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.

The last court filing in August 1996 stated that he owed Ms Geimer $604,416.22, including interest. The documents were made available to the media on Friday.

The court records did not reveal whether the 76-year-old director had ever paid, according to the Associated Press.

The director pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with an under-age girl following a plea bargain - he had originally been charged with six offences including rape and sodomy.

Victim sued

He left the US in 1978 before he could be sentenced and has not returned to the country since.

David Finkle, the film-maker's lawyer, said he was unable to recall details of the case and declined comment. Ms Geimer and her family have also been unavailable for comment.

She sued Polanski in December 1988, alleging sexual assault, infliction of emotional distress and seduction.

But in January this year she asked a US court to drop charges against him, saying the continued publication of details "causes harm to me, my husband and children".

Schwarzenegger speaks out

The arrest of Polanski, who won an Oscar in 2002 for The Pianist, a harrowing story of Nazi-occupied Warsaw, has prompted an outcry among some politicians and Hollywood heavyweights.

But on Friday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said the film-maker should not get special treatment because he is a "big-time movie director".

A petition has been signed by film-makers including Pedro Almodovar and Stephen Frears, and actors including Monica Bellucci and Fanny Ardant, expressing dismay at Mr Polanski's arrest.

Other Hollywood luminaries, including film producer Harvey Weinstein, have called for Polanski's release.

On Tuesday, US prosecutors said the 76-year-old had been on an Interpol "wanted list" for years.



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