Actor attacks French government for punishing talent as he moves to Belgium
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.
The prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, described Depardieu’s behaviour as pathetic and unpatriotic at a time when the French are being asked to pay higher taxes to reduce a bloated national debt.
“Pathetic, you said pathetic? How pathetic is that?” Depardieu said in a letter to the weekly newspaper le Journal du Dimanche.
“I am leaving because you believe that success, creation, talent, anything different must be sanctioned,” he said.
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.