Polish director Roman Polanski’s family is thanking French President Nicolas Sarkozy for being “very effective” in helping to win his release from a Swiss prison.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is thanks to the President that Roman has been freed, but he has been super,” Polanski’s sister-in-law, Mathilde Seigner, told Le Parisien newspaper. “The President has been very effective.”
The London Times speculated that Sarkozy’s wife, ex-model Carla Bruni, may have pressured her husband to intervene because she used to hob nob with Paris’ artistic community, which includes Polanski and wife Emmanuelle Seigner.
After initially balking at his release, Swiss authorities agreed to let Polanski move from a cell to his luxurious Alpine chalet once he puts up $4.5 million bail.
A bracelet will allow police to monitor Polanski , but the device does not include a global positioning system to track him should he escape.
“We can only check if the person is at home," Jonas Peter Weber, a professor at the University of Bern, told the Times. "If the alarm goes off and no police is in the vicinity, the person will be able to flee.”
Sarkozy was first criticized for supporting Polanski in October. He expressed outrage after the director was arrested at a Zurich airport on a U.S. warrant from 1977 for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
After Polanski fled the U.S. before his sentencing, he set up shop in France where his citizenship protected him from being extradited to the U.S. He was arrested in Switzerland when he traveled there to accept an award.
Though the U.S. has asked for Switzerland to extradite Polanski, Swiss authorities have not said whether they will.
Meanwhile, Polanski's lawyers in the U.S. will attempt to have his case dismissed for good on Dec. 10.