Gerard Depardieu Surrenders French Passport, Says France PM Punishes Success and Talent
Gerard Depardieu shows no intention to return to France. The actor, who has left his home country to live in Belgium since December 7 possibly to pay lower taxes, says he plans to surrender his French passport after the prime minister called his move "pathetic."
In a letter to French Premier Jean-Marc Ayrault published in French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche, the Golden Globe winner slams French government. "I am leaving because you believe that success, creation, talent, anything different must be sanctioned," so he writes.
"I am sending you back my passport and social security, which I have never used," Depardieu adds. He further says that there were "numerous and personal" reasons why he left France. "I've no place to complain or to boast, but I refuse to be described as pathetic," he defends himself.
The "Green Card" star bought a house in Nechin, a Belgian village close to the border with France, and put his 20,000-square-foot left-bank Parisian home up for sale. He claims he has paid 145 million Euro in taxes over a period of 45 years.
Responding to Depardieu's move, PM Ayrault said last week that it was "pathetic to move to the other side of the border to not pay taxes." Labor Minister Michel Sapin also defended the tax increase, saying in a radio interview on Europe 1, "What is more normal than those who earn enormous amounts of money paying lots of tax?"
Contrary to Depardieu, France's novelist Michel Houellebecq has just decided to return to his homeland after living in tax exile in Ireland for years. He said on Sunday, December 16, "Let's say that money is important, but it's not the most important thing... The main reason is that I wanted to again speak my language in my daily life."
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