PSG’s Hakimi given preliminary charges on rape allegation

PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain defender Ashraf Hakimi has been facing preliminary charges of rape, French prosecutors said Friday.

Prosecutors in the Paris suburb of Nanterre said Hakimi was questioned on Thursday by investigators investigating allegations of rape. The investigating judge then charged him and placed him under judicial supervision.

Under French law, preliminary charges mean there is reason to suspect that a crime has been committed, but it gives magistrates more time to investigate before deciding whether to take the case to trial.

Hakimi’s attorney, Fanny Colin, said the player “strongly denies the charges against him” in a written statement to The Associated Press.

Colleen said blaming her client is “a mandatory step for any person accused of rape” and would allow Hakimi to defend himself by giving him access to the case. Colin also said that some of the material gathered by the Judicial Police showed, she said, that Hakimi “was the subject of a racketeering attempt in this case.”

The Moroccan international has been banned from contact with the alleged victim, a 24-year-old woman who claims Hakimi raped her on Saturday at his home in a Paris suburb. The prosecutor’s office said that Hakimi was allowed to leave French territory.

According to Le Parisien newspaper, which revealed the allegations earlier this week, the woman went to the police station on Sunday and accused him of rape.

The woman’s lawyer, Rachel-Flor Pardo, said in a statement that the preliminary charges show “there is reliable and consistent evidence.”

“My client has made the choice to trust justice, and only justice, and will speak only to justice,” she said in a statement to the AP. “We will not tolerate any smear or destabilizing campaign (against her).”

Spanish-born Hakimi is the defender who helped Morocco make World Cup history last year by becoming the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. On Friday, he was seen training with PSG.

The prosecutor’s office began a preliminary investigation on Monday.

Hakimi returned to training with PSG on Friday after a minor hamstring problem and he could be in the squad to play Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the Champions League.

PSG are due to play Nantes at home on Saturday in the French league.

At a press conference on Friday, Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier said he “will not answer non-sporting questions (concerning) Ashraf Hakimi”.

Galtier said he hopes Hakimi can train with the rest of the team “to be available” for the game against Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the second leg of the round of 16.

“The players were hardworking and serious,” Galtier said when asked what the mood in training was like on this occasion.

Hakimi appeared on stage at the FIFA Awards in Paris on Monday. He was credited as part of the men’s all-star team chosen by the players and was met with short, loud applause upon introduction.


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