Actor Gerard Depardieu joins French tax exiles in Belgium

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Gerard Depardieu

    President Hollande blamed for driving out a ‘national  treasure’ with planned 75 per cent top tax rate


LAST UPDATED AT 16:06 ON Fri 9 Nov  2012
FRENCH President Francois Hollande is under fire after reports that his policy  of increasing taxes for the rich has prompted actor Gerard Depardieu to flee the  country and move to Belgium.

Depardieu is reported to have bought a  property just over the border from Lille, and according to The Times the news has prompted “a bout of hand-wringing in  Paris over the loss of a figure widely considered to be a national  treasure”.

Belgian newspaper Le Soir said on Thursday that Depardieu had agreed to  purchase a property in the village of Nechin and, after agreeing the deal, was  seen dining in a “chic and gastronomic” restaurant where he posed for pictures  with fans.

French news magazine Le Point described the village as a “tax haven” for rich  families from northern France. “Nechin may be less glamorous than London,  Geneva, Brussels and its climate is less pleasant than Monaco, but 27 per cent  of the population is French,” it noted.

Among Depardieu’s  neighbours will be members of the Mulliez family, who own the Auchan supermarket  chain.

It is widely believed that the actor, who plays Obelix in  the French Asterix movies but found fame outside his homeland with Hollywood  films like Green Card, is moving to escape Hollande’s new tax  system.

“The subject of the country’s wealthy moving abroad to  avoid the tax man has long been a fiery issue in France, and has only been  heightened by the proposed 75 per cent tax rate for top earners, due to be  introduced in 2013,” reported France 24.

“Although Depardieu’s fortune has  never been disclosed, it includes a production company, vineyards in Anjou,  Bordeaux, Italy and Morocco and a restaurant in Paris,” added the Times.

He is not the first famous actor to leave France since Hollande’s  election in May – his Asterix co-star Christian Clavier has moved to London.

And there was a political row earlier this year when France’s richest  man, Bernard Arnault, revealed he had applied for Belgian citizenship, although  he maintained the move had nothing to do with avoiding tax. ·

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