Daily Mail - - Front Page - From Pe­ter Allen in Paris, Eleanor Hay­ward and Neil Sears

PIPPA Mid­dle­ton’s fa­therin­law has been charged with rap­ing a mi­nor, it emerged last night.

David Matthews, 74, al­legedly car­ried out two of­fences be­tween 1998-9, ac­cord­ing to le­gal sources in France. One is said to have hap­pened in Paris and another on the Caribbean is­land of St Barts, where he owns a ho­tel. A woman lodged a com­plaint against Matthews with French po­lice last year and he was ar­rested af­ter fly­ing into Paris Orly air­port on Tues­day.

Matthews’ fi­nancier son James mar­ried Pippa Mid­dle­ton, the Duchess of Cam­bridge’s 34-year-old sis­ter, in an ex­trav­a­gant cer­e­mony

at­tended by roy­als and celebri­ties last May. French me­dia said last night that Matthews was ac­cused of rap­ing a teenage girl shortly be­fore she legally be­came an adult nearly two decades ago. Last night he stren­u­ously de­nied all the claims.

While there is no like-for-like equiv­a­lent in the British le­gal sys­tem, Matthews’ of­fi­cial sta­tus with French pros­e­cu­tors is ‘mise en ex­a­men’, which is widely con­sid­ered to be sim­i­lar to a charge in the UK.

The busi­ness­man, who has an es­ti­mated £40mil­lion for­tune, was quizzed by po­lice for 48 hours af­ter he ar­rived in Paris. He had been head­ing to the South of France for a hol­i­day over Easter. He has now been charged with the ‘rape of a mi­nor by a per­son with author­ity over his vic­tim’, a crime that is pun­ish­able by up to 15 years’ im­pris­on­ment in France. He has since been bailed.

The rape investigation is be­ing dealt with by the Ju­ve­nile Pro­tec­tion Bri­gade of the Paris ju­di­cial po­lice.

The charge will now be sub­ject to a ju­di­cial investigation.

A ju­di­cial source said: ‘I con­firm that David Matthews was placed in po­lice cus­tody on 27 March at the Bri­gade for the Pro­tec­tion of Mi­nors.

‘Fol­low­ing his ar­rest, the Paris pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice opened a ju­di­cial investigation, over­looked by an ex­am­in­ing mag­is­trate, who charged him with the rape of a mi­nor.

‘He was placed un­der ju­di­cial su­pervi-Wed­ding sion by the in­ves­ti­gat­ing judge. The inves- tiga­tion al­leges that the crimes were com­mit­ted in 1998 and 1999.

‘The in­ves­ti­ga­tions will now con­tinue as a ju­di­cial investigation and will be led by an in­ves­ti­gat­ing judge.’

One of the al­leged of­fences is said to have taken place in 1998 on the up­mar­ket Caribbean is­land of St Barts – a French de­pen­dency where Matthews owns a £5,000-a-night ho­tel, the Eden Rock. The other al­leged at­tack is said to have taken place in Paris the fol­low­ing year.

Matthews has now been re­leased on bail, sub­ject to undis­closed con­di­tions. It is not known if he has re­tained his pass­port, or whether he can travel home.

Matthews, who lives per­ma­nently on St Barts with his wife Jane, 70, orig­i­nally spent a full 48 hours in cus­tody in Paris – the max­i­mum al­lowed un­der French crim­i­nal law be­fore charges must be filed.

Last night a spokesman for Matthews said: ‘David Matthews cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nies the al­le­ga­tion and un­equiv­o­cally con­tests the un­true and scan­dalous ac­cu­sa­tion.’

Another of Matthews’ sons, Spencer, is known to mil­lions as the star of Made in Chelsea, a re­al­ity TV show fol­low­ing the lives of Lon­don so­cialites.

He dated sev­eral cast mem­bers, earn­ing him a rep­u­ta­tion as a hard-par­ty­ing lothario. But the Eton- ed­u­cated 28-year-old is now en­gaged to Ir­ish model Vogue Williams, who is ex­pect­ing the cou­ple’s first child.

In 2015 he won a spot on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, but he was forced to quit the show af­ter just three days when he ad­mit­ted to tak­ing steroids.

Speak­ing about why he took took the pills, he said: ‘It was com­pletely out of van­ity. I just wanted to look good in the shower.’

‘Ho­tel made him feel truly alive’

Paris ar­rest: David Matthews with Pippa at her wed­ding in May

Big day: David Matthews, far right, with his son James, Pippa Mid­dle­ton and the mother of the bride Ca­role on the cou­ple’s wed­ding day last May

guests: David Matthews with wife Jane, a for­mer Chris­tian Dior re­cep­tion­ist

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