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Actor Depardieu 'giving up French passport' in tax row

Published on Dec 17, 2012 6:02 AM
This file photo taken on Feb 19, 2010 shows French actor Gerard Depardieu gesturing as he poses for photographers during the photo call for the movie "Mammuth" during the 60th Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin. French actor Gerard Depardieu, in a letter to France's Journal de Dimanche published on Dec 16, 2012, said that he is 'returning his passport' to the French government in a symbolic protest at recent criticism of his decision to join French tax exiles living in Belgium. -- PHOTO : AFP

PARIS (AFP) - France's leading actor Gerard Depardieu said on Sunday he is giving up his French passport after the prime minister called him "pathetic" for seeking to avoid taxes by moving to Belgium.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, the 63-year-old Cyrano de Bergerac and Jean de Florette film star said he had been treated unfairly after years of supporting France and paying millions of euros in taxes.

"I am not asking to be approved of, but I could at least be respected. All of those who have left France have not been insulted as I have been," he said in the letter published in the weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

Depardieu has joined some of France's wealthiest business figures in Belgium following moves by President Francois Hollande's Socialist government to tax annual incomes above one million euros (S$1.6 million) at 75 per cent.

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