French actor Gerard Depardieu is being investigated by the Paris prosecutor over accusations of rape and sexual assault, a judicial source has said - though the actor denies any wrongdoing, according to his lawyer.

Depardieu (69), who is one of France’s most prolific and prominent actors, has been in nearly 170 movies and gained international recognition in 1990 with his starring role in the English language comedy Green Card in which he starred with Andie MacDowell.

According to Reuters, a source said: "I can confirm a complaint was registered on August 27 in the jurisdiction of the Aix-en-Provence prosecutor. The case was passed on to the Paris prosecutor."

French media has reported that the complaint was lodged by a 22-year-old French actress.

A lawyer for Depardieu dismissed the accusations. "Gerard Depardieu denies any wrongdoing. He will cooperate in the investigation and will answer questions," Herve Temime told BFM television.

He added that Depardieu was "shaken" by the allegations.

In recent years, the outspoken actor has drawn Western criticism for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.