Sunday, May 3, 2015Sunday, May 3, 2015

French PM denounces tax exiles after Depardieu flight

Published on Dec 12, 2012 6:23 AM
A photo taken on Dec 10, 2012 shows a house in the Belgian village of Nechin near Estaimpuis allegedly bought by French actor Gerard Depardieu. French politicians reacted with dismay on Dec 10 after it emerged that Depardieu had taken up the role of tax exile in neighbouring Belgium. Local mayor Daniel Senesael suggested Depardieu had been drawn to Nechin, just over the border from France, by the attractions of country life as much as the fiscal shelter it offers, like a quarter of the population which is French. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Tuesday denounced wealthy individuals in France fleeing a stinging tax on high incomes as greedy people seeking to "become even richer."

Mr Ayrault's comments came after the country's leading actor, Gerard Depardieu, took up residence in a tiny village just over the border in Belgium which is a favoured spot for wealthy French nationals avoiding tax.

"Those who are seeking exile abroad are not those who are scared of becoming poor," he told reporters after announcing sweeping anti-poverty measures to help those hit by the economic crisis.

He said they were doing it "because they want to get even richer," adding: "We cannot fight poverty if those with the most, and sometimes with a lot, do not show solidarity and a bit of generosity. Thankfully, few are seeking exile to exempt themselves from being in solidarity with fellow Frenchmen," he added.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!