ZURICH, Switzerland — Director Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police as he flew in for the Zurich Film Festival and faces possible extradition to the United States for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl, authorities said Sunday.
Polanski was scheduled to receive an honorary award at the festival when he was arrested Saturday at the airport, the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a statement. It said U.S. authorities have sought the arrest of the 76-year-old director around the world since 2005.
“There was a valid arrest request and we knew when he was coming,” ministry spokesman Guido Balmer told The Associated Press.
“That’s why he was taken into custody on this occasion.”
Balmer said the U.S. would now have to make a formal extradition request.
He declined to explain why Polanski was never previously arrested in Switzerland, where he has often travelled or stayed.