Pagny facing suspended jail term
PARIS, Nov 24 (AFP) - One of France's most popular pop singers, Florent Pagny, could face a suspended sentence of eight months for alleged tax evasion, according to a state prosecutor's closing arguments Monday.
The state prosecutor at the Versailles court near Paris also suggested fining the singer EUR 15,000 (USD 17,700).
A suspended sentence of six months and a EUR 15,000 fine was suggested for the head of Universal Music France, Pascal Negre, for allegedly aiding Pagny.
The allegations stemmed from a EUR 1 million (USD 1.2-million) payment the music company made to Pagny in 1996, which he claims was a loan but which French tax authorities argue was an advance on future recording sales and therefore subject to tax.
Pagny, 42, is also accused of not paying EUR 48,000 in sales tax in 1997 and of hiding assets – including Harley-Davidson motorbikes, a Bentley, expensive wines and artworks – that had been inventoried for seizure by bailiffs last year.
The entertainer, who is also a sometime actor, has long cultivated a rebel image and publicly dismissed the allegations against him. He shares his time between France and Argentina, where his longtime girlfriend is from.The court is expected to reach a verdict on January 19.
Subject: French news