Polanski was arrested after tip-off from Swiss officials

Until now it had been assumed that the US had prompted the Swiss police to make the arrest in its long-running efforts to track down Polanski after he fled justice following his admission of the statutory rape of a 13-year-old in 1977.

But emails from the Swiss federal office of justice show that it alerted the US office of international affairs (OIA). It sent an urgent fax stating that Polanski was expected in Zurich to receive a film award — as the website of the Zurich film festival had already announced.

The emails, released to the Associated Press, show that on September 22, Swiss officials asked the US if it wanted Polanski arrested. After receiving the tip, federal officials alerted the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, which immediately began drafting an arrest warrant. Polanski was arrested four days later. Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said the emails showed the Swiss authorities acted correctly by asking their American counterparts if the Polanski arrest warrant was still valid.

The new details again raise the question of why Switzerland decided to go after Polanski now, even though the 76-year-old was a frequent visitor.

Since his arrest Polanski’s lawyers have failed to secure his release or prevent his expected extradition to the US.

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