The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned.
DailyMail.com understands the move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which instructed the bureau to investigate the mounting allegations leveled at the movie mogul.
While it is unknown whether the DOJ order came directly from Sessions, the move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein's friendship with Trump foe Hillary Clinton.
The move by the DOJ came amid rumors that Weinstein plans to head to Europe for sex rehab – leading to fears of a Roman Polanski-style situation where he dodges prosecution in the U.S.
The FBI can both look at whether he has committed any federal crimes in the U.S. and prepare extradition proceedings if he remains in Europe.
Among the allegations against Weinstein, which the FBI is expected to examine, is that he forced Lucia Evans, a student who wanted to be an actress, to perform oral sex on him in New York in 2004.
New York State has no statue of limitations on rape and criminal sexual acts - its legal term for forced oral or anal intercourse.
The FBI has opened an investigation into disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned
The move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein's friendship with Trump's rival Hillary Clinton
Hollywood powerhouse Weinstein has traveled the globe promoting his movies and the belief is that he could have committed sex crimes in several countries.
So far five accusers have given accounts of attacks in France, while allegations of attacks in London have also surfaced – any of which could lead to charges there.
The FBI has field offices in both countries and could assist prosecutors there with their cases.
A spokesperson for the FBI in New York said: 'We do not confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations.'
Although it is not yet known if Sessions gave the direct order or if Trump requested the investigation, Trump said he wasn't surprised by the sexual harassment and assault claims made against Weinstein.
Trump said shortly after news of the shock report on Thursday: 'I've known him for years. I'm not surprised.'
Weinstein was a big donor for Hillary Clinton, who finally denounced her longtime friend in a statement on Tuesday but was silent on the crucial issue of the vast amount of cash Weinstein donated directly to her and her family.
The move by the DOJ comes as it emerged the movie mogul has taken on top criminal defense lawyers Blair Berk and David Chesnoff.
The pair will join his expanding legal team following an article in the New Yorker, which alleged three women were sexually assaulted by him.
Up to 30 women have now come forward to make allegations of sexual misconduct.
Berk has represented A-listers like, Mel Gibson, Johnny Depp, Britney Spears, Kiefer Sutherland, and Lindsay Lohan, while Chesnoff’s clients have included Vince Neil, Bruno Mars, Paris Hilton, Leonardo DiCaprio and the family of Michael Jackson.
Weinstein has donated heavily to Clinton and although she said she was shocked and dismayed by his actions, she hasn't returned any of his contributions
Finally: Hillary Clinton's statement, issued after three rape allegations were leveled at Weinstein and Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie said he harassed them
The movie producer is said to have plans to jet to Europe and to go to a sex rehab clinic – although he was still in Los Angeles on Wednesday, The Blast reported, and TMZ reported they heard word of a suicidal threat call for him that morning.
Sources close to the case have told DailyMail.com they fear the movie mogul might be pulling a Roman Polanski.
Weinstein's sudden departure is reminiscent of Hollywood icon Polanski who was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl. The director was arrested and charged in 1977 in Los Angeles with five offenses — rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.
He was able to work out a deal in which he'd plead guilty to 'unlawful sexual intercourse' in exchange for prosecutors dismissing the five charges, but when he learned he would likely go to prison, Polanski fled to England.
Polanski has never returned to the US and has lived in Europe, splitting his time between France and Poland, ever since.
Although there are significant legal differences, the potential for a lengthy extradition case is likely to be one the FBI would be keen to quickly close down.
There are roughly 70 countries that don't have any form of an extradition treaty with the United States, according to WLOX.
These include Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the Ukraine, which are all in Eastern Europe, and the tiny Andorra.
Despite having extradition treaties with the United States, some countries, including Bolivia, Iceland and Switzerland, have been known to refuse requests.
RJ Cipriani, AKA Robin Hood 702, a professional gambler/philanthropist and known FBI source, claims to have knowledge of the Weinstein case.
Weinstein's sudden departure is reminiscent of Hollywood icon Roman Polanski (left) who was accused of raping 13-year-old girl Samantha Geimer (right). The director was arrested and charged in 1977 in Los Angeles with five offenses
Before Polanski was sentenced for the rape of the teenager (pictured), he fled to England. Polanski has never returned to the US and has lived in Europe, splitting his time between France and Poland, ever since
He told DailyMail.com: 'My connections and sources within the law enforcement community have told me they're looking to bring a case against Harvey Weinstein for rape and various other charges.
'That's why they believe Weinstein left to go to Europe to rehab. He is trying to protect himself in case charges are filed and do the same thing Roman Polanski did to escape justice.
He continued: 'We must stop these sex predators from crossing any border to allow them to escape justice.'
Cipriani says he also reached out to one of the lawyers representing Weinstein, Patricia 'Patty' Glaser.
He says Glaser, a leading LA lawyer, is his close friend and his attorney and he was appalled to learn in the media she was representing Weinstein.
He said: 'Patty and I spoke by phone after I heard she was working for Weinstein.
'Patty is a dear friend and I expressed my complete shock and displeasure of what I heard.
'Although she wouldn't confirm or deny anything, I tried and tried to dissuade her from taking his case and even went as far as to offer her $1million not to take it.
'I believe, although I cannot confirm, I might have changed her mind in terms of her going after the girls involved in this. From what I'm hearing she is only representing him in the matter against The Weinstein Company.'
RJ Cipriani, AKA Robin Hood 702, a professional gambler/philanthropist and known FBI source, claims to have knowledge of the Weinstein case. He says Patricia Glaser (pictured together), a leading LA lawyer, is his close friend and his attorney and he was appalled to learn in the media she was representing Weinstein
He added: 'My hope is that Patty took my comments on board and has seen the light, she's a very dear friend and I don't want to hurt her in any way, but she's representing a scumbag sex predator.'
According to the Hollywood Reporter Glaser won't be representing Weinstein in connection with harassment claims or against media outlets.
Instead, her task is to negotiate with The Weinstein Co., which on Sunday night fired Weinstein after a unanimous vote by the board of directors.
'We hope to work it out,' Glaser told the magazine. 'However, we will do whatever we have to do to properly protect his rights vis a vis the company.'
Glaser, a named partner at Glaser Weil, has handled many high-profile employment disputes, including representing Keith Olbermann against Al Gore's former Current TV and Conan O'Brien against NBC.
Most recently, she also picked up Jamie Horowitz as a client after the former Fox Sports programming head was let go amid an internal investigation about sexual harassment claims.
DailyMail.com also contacted the DoJ but response has been received.
Angelina Jolie said she had to turn down Weinstein's advances as a young actress
Cara Delevingne: The model turned actress said Weinstein tried to get her to engage in a threesome with him and another woman in a New York City hotel room
Gwyneth Paltrow: The star told the New York Times that Weinstein touched her and suggested having joint massages in the bedroom before she started shooting the 1996 film Emma. She said she told her then boyfriend Brad Pitt about the incident and he confronted the mogul.
Angelina Jolie: Jolie told the Times she had to turn down advances from Weinstein in 1998 and chose never to work with him again. She said she warned other women about him.
Louisette Geiss: Actress was called to a late night meeting with Weinstein in 2008. He allegedly emerged in a bathrobe and told her he would green light her script if she watched him masterbate. She left the meeting.
Judith Godreche: The French actress says Weinstein tried to massage her and pull off her sweater after asking her up to his Cannes suite to see the view in 1996.
Dawn Dunning: Aspiring actress says she was called to a meeting about future film projects in 2003. When she arrived Weinstein presented her with three scripts for his next three movies which he would let her star in, only if she had three-way sex with him. She fled the hotel.
Tomi-Ann Roberts: Weinstein met her when she was serving tables as a college junior in 1984 and told her to meet him at his home. When she arrived, she says, he was naked in the bath and told her she would give a better audition if she was nude. She says she refused and left.
Asia Argento: The Italian actress has accused Weinstein of forcibly performing oral sex on her when she was 21. 'He terrified me, and he was big. It wouldn't stop. It was a nightmare.' She said she went on to have consensual sex with him over the years that followed. She documented the alleged attack in her 2000 film Scarlet Diva.
Katherine Kendall: The Swingers actress was told Weinstein had to stop off in his apartment to pick something up after a screening in 1993. He changed into a bathrobe and told her to massage her. When she resisted she said the mogul returned naked and chased her.
L ucia Evans: The actress, formerly known as Lucia Stoller, claims Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004. Speaking to the New Yorker, she said that she suffered years of trauma after the incident which occurred in a 'casting meeting' in a Miramax office in Manhattan. He reportedly called her late at night after the incident.
Gwyneth Paltrow revealed that Weinstein attempted to get her into a hotel bedroom and massage her when she was 22
Mira Sorvino: The Mighty Aphrodite actress told the New Yorker that Weinstein tried to massage her in a hotel room at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival. He then went to her home in the middle of the night but she called a male friend to protect her, she claimed. She said turning down the mogul adversely affected her career.
Rosanna Arquette: The actress also said her career suffered after she rebuffed Weinstein's advances in the early 1990s. At a hotel meeting he tried to put her hand on his erect penis, she claims.
Rose McGowan: The actress, who made her breakthrough in 1996 in the Weinstein-produced slasher revival movie Scream, reportedly sued Weinstein after he assaulted her in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival. She signed a non-disclosure agreement at the close of the suit and has only referred to him obliquely in social media since. On Sunday she referred to being abused by a 'monster' and has previously referred to being raped by a studio head.
Career suicide: Mira Sorvino revealed how her career nose-dived after she turned down Weinstein's advances
Ashley Judd: Judd's film roles include the 1997 thriller Kiss the Girls - and says that during the filming of that movie Weinstein repeatedly asked her to watch him shower. She was one of the women who spoke out to The New York Times this week, saying: 'Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it's simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.'
Emma De Caunes: French actress Emma de Caunes said that she met Weinstein in 2010, soon after he told her he had a script he was producing based on a book with a strong female character. Weinstein offered to show her the script, and asked her up to his hotel room, where he began to take a shower. He then emerged naked and with an erection, asking her to lay down with him on the bed and telling her that many had done so before. 'I was very petrified,' said de Caunes. 'But I didn’t want to show him that I was petrified, because I could feel that the more I was freaking out, the more he was excited.'
Zelda Perkins was 25 when, as an assistant of Weinstein's in London, she reportedly confronted the mogul for harassing her and 'several' other women; she later settled out of court
Lauren O'Connor: A former employee of The Weinstein Company, she told executives there in the fall of 2015 that there was 'a toxic environment for women at this company' after one of her colleagues told her that Weinstein had pressured her into massaging him while he was naked, the NYT said.
Ambra Battilana: An Italian actress and model, she told the NYT that in March 2015 Weinstein invited her to his New York office. There, she said, he asked if her breasts were real before grabbing them and putting his hands up her skirt. She reported the alleged incident to police, but they did not press charges. According to the NYT, Weinstein later paid her off.
Jessica Barth: Weintein reportedly pressured Barth, an actress, to give him a naked massage in the Peninsula Hotel from 2011 onwards.
Laura Madden: An ex-employee, she told the NYT that Weinstein had asked her to give him massages from 1991 onwards, while they were both in London and Dublin. 'It was so manipulative,' she told the NYT. 'You constantly question yourself - am I the one who is the problem?' Weinstein denied knowledge.
Emily Nestor: Nestor was a temporary employee of the Weinstein Company for just one day in 2014 when Weinstein approached her and offered to boost her career in exchange for sex, the NYT reported.
Zelda Perkins: An assistant of Weinstein's based in London in 1998; then 25, she reportedly confronted Weinstein after she and 'several' others were harassed and later settled out of court.
Elizabeth Karlsen, an Oscar-winning producer, said a female executive told her almost 30 years ago that she had found Weinstein naked in her bedroom in a Miramax-rented property
Elizabeth Karlsen: The Oscar-nominated producer of Carol and The Crying Game, among others, told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday that almost 30 years ago, an unnamed young female executive who had worked at Miramax with Weinstein had found him naked in her bedroom one night. The exec was in a house rented by Miramax at the time to cut its overheads.
Liza Campbell: A freelance script reader, she told the UK's Sunday Times that Weinstein had summoned her to his hotel room in London before telling her to get in the bath with him.
Lauren Sivan: The former Fox news host said that Weinstein trapped her in a closed restaurant and masturbated in front of her to completion in 2007. He took her to a closed restaurant beneath a club she had visited and attempted to kiss her, then when she refused he cornered her and made her watch him touch himself, according to The Huffington Post.
Jessica Hynes: The British actress, best known for her roles in the Bridget Jones movies and for co-creating and co-writing the sitcom Spaced, said she was invited to audition for Weinstein when she was 19 - in a bikini. Hynes, formerly known as Jessica Stevenson, said she refused to wear the skimpy item - and lost the job.
Romola Garai: British actress Romola Garai said she felt "violated" following a meeting with Harvey Weinstein in his London hotel room when she was 18 in which he was in a bathrobe. Garai, best known for her role in "Atonement", said she had already been hired for a part but was told to audition privately with the Hollywood mogul because 'you had to be personally approved by him'. "Like every other woman in the industry, I've had an 'audition' with Harvey Weinstein," she told The Guardian. 'So I had to go to his hotel room in the Savoy and he answered the door in his bathrobe. I was only 18. I felt violated by it'.
Unnamed assistant: Weinstein allegedly behaved inappropriately toward a woman employed as his assistant in 1990. The case was settled out of court.
Another unnamed assistant: In 2015, Weinstein reportedly pressured another assistant into giving him a naked massage in the Peninsula Hotel, where he is also said to have pressured Barth.
Unnamed Miramax employee: At one point in the early 1990s, a young woman is alleged to have suddenly left the company after an encounter with Weinstein. She also settled out of court.
Unnamed woman: A woman who did not wish to be named because she feared Weinstein's connections told The New York Times that the producer had summoned her to his hotel at an unknown date and raped her.