Gérard Depardieu says he will give up French passport over tax rises, reports the Guardian:
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.
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.
The full text of his open letter is given in the Le Journal du Dimanche (Le JDD). M Depardieu finished with a fine flourish:
“Therefore I ask, who are you to judge me, Mr Ayrault, prime minister of Mr Hollande, I ask, who are you? Despite my excesses, my appetite and my love of life, I remain a free being, and I will remain polite.”