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Depardieu says giving up French passport in tax row
December 16, 2012 - 18:19 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Gérard Depardieu has said he is handing back his French passport and social security card, lambasting the French government for punishing "success, creation, talent" in his homeland, The Guardian said.
A popular and colourful figure in France, the 63-year-old actor is the latest wealthy Frenchman to seek shelter outside his native country by buying a house just over the border in Belgium in response to tax increases by the Socialist president, François Hollande.
An angry member of parliament has proposed that France adopt a US-inspired law that would force Depardieu or anyone trying to escape full tax dues to forgo their nationality.
The Cyrano de Bergerac star recently bought a house in Nechin, a Belgian village a short walk from the border with France where 27% of residents are French nationals, and put his sumptuous Parisian home up for sale. Depardieu has also inquired about procedures for acquiring Belgian residency.
He said he had paid €145m (£120m) in taxes since beginning work as a printer at the age of 14. "People more illustrious than me have gone into [tax] exile. Of all those that have left none have been insulted as I have."
The actor's move comes three months after Bernard Arnault, chief executive of the luxury goods giant LVMH and France's richest man, caused uproar by seeking to establish residency in Belgium – a move he said was not for tax reasons.
"We no longer have the same homeland," Depardieu said. "I no longer have any reason to stay here. I will continue to love the French and this public that I have shared so much emotion with."
Hollande is pressing ahead too with plans to impose a 75% supertax on income over €1m.
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