"The authorities in Zurich will take charge of the Roman Polanski hearing. They will hold a verbal hearing that would be transmitted to us," Folco Galli, spokesman for the justice office, told AFP news agency.

If the justice office accepts the extradition, Polanski can appeal against the justice office's decision before the country's top criminal court.

Herve Temime, Polanski's lawyer, said his client will fight the US request.

"Mr Polanski is not changing course. He will not accept the US extradition request," Temime told AFP.

Lesser charge

Polanski, 76, has been regarded as a fugitive by US authorities since he fled the country in 1978 after admitting to sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski had initially been charged with rape and five other felonies, before later pleading guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

He has asked to be released on bail pending extradition, but on Tuesday, Switzerland's top criminal court rejected the request, saying there was a "high" risk  he could flee the country.

Polanski had put up his chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad as bail, according to court documents.

His lawyers have also argued that given his age and in view of his two children who are still in school, Polanski would not put at risk over half of his assets by escaping.