Gérard Depardieu wants to be a Belgian
The celebrated French actor Gérard Depardieu has decided to hand in his French passport and become Belgian.
The celebrated French actor Gérard Depardieu has decided to hand in his French passport after he came under furious attack from several quarters when he decided to move to Belgium to pay less tax.
In an open letter to the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault Gérard Depardieu says he has been wounded by the criticism sparked by his flight to Belgium for tax purposes. The letter appeared in today's Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
Last week it emerged that the celebrated actor was living in the hamlet of Estaimpuis in Hainaut in Wallonia. He is only one of scores of French nationals who have settled just across the border from France to escape France's new wealth taxes on the extremely rich.
The actor's flight didn't go down too well with Gallic public opinion. France's socialist Prime Minister was particularly sharp for the tax exile claiming he was rather pathetic.
M Ayrault's words have sparked a furious reaction. In his open letter Gérard Depardieu says that other tax exiles have not been insulted in this way. He points out that he has not murdered anybody, but over the past 45 years did pay 145 million euros in tax to the French state and employed 80 people.
"I am not to be pitied or to be praised, but I refuse to be called pathetic."
"I'm handing in my passport and my right to social security that I have never invoked. We no longer share the same fatherland. I am European, a citizen of the world."
In passing the actor also attacks the doggedness with which the French judicial authorities pursued his son Guillaume. Guillaume died of influenza in 2009 after leading a life steeped in alcohol and drugs.
NG / Together Magazine / Expatica
Reprinted with permission of Together Magazine.