Tariq Ramadan Image Credit: Supplied

Paris - Leading Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, charged with raping two women in France, claimed Monday that he had consensual sex with both of them after previously denying any physical contact.

Ramadan, a well-known TV commentator, has strongly denied accusations that he raped the women in hotel rooms as an attempted smear by his opponents.

His lawyer Emmanuel Marsigny said the Swiss academic had changed his account of what happened on the basis of text messages that have emerged between him and his two accusers.

The messages “show that the plaintiffs lied and that the sexual encounters were wanted, consensual and even sought again afterwards”, Marsigny said.

The unearthing of these messages “has allowed him to acknowledge that he had sexual relations” with the women, Marsigny said.

Ramadan, accused of raping the women in 2009 and 2012, has been in custody since February 2.

He previously insisted he had no sexual contact with his two accusers, feminist activist Henda Ayari and a disabled woman known in media reports as “Christelle”.

Ramadan was a professor at Oxford University until he was forced to take leave when the rape allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement late last year.

Last month a computer expert working on the investigation retrieved 399 text messages between Ramadan and Christelle, whom he is accused of raping in a Lyon hotel room in 2009.

The text messages detailed his violent sexual fantasies ahead of the alleged attack.

In one message - sent on an unknown date - Christelle wrote to Ramadan: “I missed you as soon as you left”.

But Christelle’s lawyers have argued in court that the messages showed their sexual encounter was non-consensual, and that Ramadan was aware of it.

Records show that he wrote to her afterwards: “I sensed your unease... apologies for my ‘violence’.”

Ramadan previously said his only face-to-face contact with Christelle was a drink in the hotel bar, describing her as a “compulsive liar”.

But her lawyer Eric Morain said Monday that Ramadan had been “lying for 11 months” while “beating his chest and presenting himself as a hero of the truth”.

Ramadan’s lawyers have also provided details of his exchanges with Ayari, whom he is accused of raping in a Paris hotel in 2012.

The 56-year-old has also been accused of raping a woman in Switzerland, with a prosecutor due to travel from the neighbouring country to question him.

The married father of four, whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has repeatedly sought bail arguing that being in prison is making it difficult to treat his multiple sclerosis.

The courts have so far rejected his requests, ruling that he can receive adequate treatment in the prison hospital at Fresnes in the southern Paris suburbs.