Top Moroccan soccer player charged with rape in France

Top Moroccan soccer player charged with rape in France

PARIS — Moroccan national team soccer player Achraf Hakimi is facing an investigation in France after being charged with rape Thursday evening, the prosecutor’s office in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre said Friday.

Hakimi, who according to his lawyer denies the accusations, has been placed under judicial supervision and has been banned from contacting his alleged victim, the prosecutor’s office added.

Playing for Morocco’s national team, Hakimi was a key figure during the soccer World Cup in Qatar last year.

Under French law, the charges against Hakimi will not automatically result in a trial and could still be dismissed.

The 24 year old, who was born in Spain, plays as a defender for France’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) club, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hakimi was seen training with other club members on Friday, Agence France-Presse reported.

Hakimi’s lawyer, Fanny Colin, said in a statement that during a hearing this week, “which took place at his express request, Achraf Hakimi firmly denied the accusations brought against him.”

“In my opinion, it follows from the documents, which are in the hands of the judicial police, that Mr. Hakimi has, in this case, been the subject of a racketeering attempt,” she added.

According to the Associated Press, PSG Coach Christophe Galtier told reporters Friday that he would “answer no questions of a non-sporting nature [relating to] Achraf Hakimi.” Galtier added that he hoped Hakimi could train with the rest of the team “to be available” to play against Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16.

According to French media reports, the Nanterre prosecutor’s office launched a preliminary investigation Monday, after a woman told authorities that she had been raped by the soccer player at his home in Boulogne-Billancourt on the outskirts of Paris. The alleged incident reportedly happened Saturday.

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