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Disgusted De Niro vows self-exile from France

Tells French newspaper he'll also advise friends not to visit

PARIS — When John Frankenheimer’s “Ronin,” wraps next week in Paris, it’s a safe bet Robert De Niro won’t be sticking around for the party. In an interview with French daily Le Monde Tuesday, De Niro vowed “I will never return to France.”

The actor, enraged at being questioned for nine hours on Feb. 10 by French police investigating a prostitution ring, has filed suit against the magistrate who brought him in, Frederic N’Guyen.

A spokesman for “Ronin” says De Niro will continue to work on the film through its Paris wrap next week and that although he is “very angry” she hopes he’ll change his mind about coming back to France.

According to De Niro’s attorney, Georges Kiejman, the actor was aware that he was wanted for questioning, and had communicated his desire to comply; he asked only that he have an interpreter, that his work not be disrupted and that a certain amount of discretion be used.

So he was perturbed, to say the least, when a half a dozen police officers turned up early on the morning of the 10th at the Bristol Hotel and woke the actor, who had just returned from a night shoot.

No charges were brought against De Niro in connection with the prostitution ring; the actor says he was berated for hours despite telling the police, “I swear on my kids, I have never paid (for a woman).”

He explained in Le Monde, “To no end, they asked me the same questions. They took my written statement and faxed it to the magistrate, then started again with the same questions. I had to wait and I was supposed to be on the set. We went from two hours to nine hours in order for them to implicate me in other people’s problems.”

The episode led De Niro to proclaim, “I will advise my friends against coming (to France). I don’t care about the Cannes Film Festival. And I will send your Legion of Honor back to the embassy, quickly. I see no reason to keep this kind of thing from a country that betrays its motto, Liberty, Egality, Fraternity.”