Depardieu giving up French passport

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Depardieu giving up French passport


PARIS - French actor Gerard Depardieu, claiming he was “insulted” by critics for becoming a tax exile in Belgium, announced he was giving up his French passport.

The 63-year-old star said in an open letter to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, published by the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday: “I don’t ask to be approved, but I could at least be respected!”

Earlier in the week the French prime minister described the Cyrano de Bergerac star’s decision to quit France as “pathetic.”

In his letter Depardieu responded: “All those who have left France have not been insulted as I have been.”

Depardieu said he had always paid his taxes and asked the prime minister: “Who are you to judge me in this way?”

He concluded: “I give you back my passport and my social security that I have never used. We no longer have the same country, I am a real European, a citizen of the world, as my father always taught me.”

Real estate agents had said Thursday that Depardieu was selling his historic Paris mansion, amid reports of a hefty price tag.

Depardieu has joined some of France’s wealthiest business figures in Belgium following moves by the Socialist government to tax annual incomes above 1 million euros ($1.3 million) at 75 percent, as well as hiking taxes on “grand fortunes” and inherited assets.

The tax measures would potentially hit Depardieu hard. The star can command up to 2 million euros per film.

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