PSG's Hakimi facing preliminary charges of rape, prosecutors say

Paris Saint-Germain defender Achraf Hakimi was given preliminary charges of rape, the prosecutor's department of Nanterre told ESPN on Friday.

A preliminary investigation was opened against Hakimi last week after a 23-year-old woman went to the police accusing him of rape.

The woman didn't press charges, but the gravity of her testimony meant the prosecution office still decided to open an investigation.

The prosecution office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre said Hakimi was questioned on Thursday by investigators probing rape allegations. He was then indicted by an investigating judge and placed under judicial supervision.

Under French law, preliminary charges means there is reason to suspect a crime has been committed but allows magistrates more time to investigate before deciding whether to send the case to trial.

The Morocco international has been placed under police monitoring and was banned from contact with the alleged victim, the prosecution office said. The player is allowed to leave French territory, prosecutors added.

Neither Hakimi nor PSG have made public statements regarding the investigation, but sources have told ESPN that the player denies all allegations against him.

Hakimi's lawyer, Fanny Colin, later released a statement that read: "According to the elements currently at the disposal of the police that M. Hakimi, in this case, is the victim of an attempt of racketeering."

According to the player's lawyer, the alleged victim "refused to press charges, refused to submit herself to any medical or psychological exams and refused to confront in person Achraf Hakimi when the accusations only rely on her words."

"Achraf Hakimi strongly denied the accusations against him during his police interview," Colin added. "Being charged gives M. Hakimi the possibility to defend himself with a lot of rights, especially to have access to the case file."

Before Friday's developments, sources told ESPN that Hakimi -- who has been out with a leg injury -- would be available for his club's league match against Nantes on Saturday.

The news comes at a crucial moment for PSG, five days ahead of their Champions League round-of-16 second-leg match against Bayern Munich.

Hakimi attended the FIFA Best awards ceremony in Paris on Monday, where he was selected in the 2022 FIFPRO World XI.

Hakimi, 24, joined PSG in 2021 and helped the club win the league title last season. He also played a key role in guiding Morocco to the semifinals at this year's World Cup.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was included in this report.