The Departure of Gérard Depardieu from France

28 / 02 / 2014 | S.A. Degueurce

Gerard Depardieu, the famous French actor, winner of two César Awards and one Golden Globe and also a rich businessman, bought a property in Néchin in late 2012, Néchin being a Belgian village located 12 miles from Lille. On 7th December, he settled down in his new property. Since then, many well-known personalities have expressed different viewpoints on Mr. Depardieu’s decision, and most people imagine that the real purpose was to benefit from attractive fiscal conditions. As a matter of fact, many rich French people have already moved from France to Belgium because of particularly attractive tax conditions, there being no wealth tax, no tax on capital gains and a more beneficial inheritance tax regime.

Among the personalities who reacted was the Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. Speaking on French television channel France 2 on 12th December, he said : “I consider this despicable (…). All this is only in order not to pay too many taxes. Paying taxes is an act of patriotism.”

After being informed of Jean-Marc Ayrault’s words, Gerard Depardieu felt “outraged”. Indeed, he answered the Prime Minister in an open letter on16th December. In that letter, he justified himself by writing that he had paid 145 million euros in tax over the past forty-five years. Moreover, the French actor added that he is neither complaining nor bragging, however, he refuses to be qualified as “despicable”. Lastly, he retorted that he would give his passport back as well as his Social Security card.

On 17th December, after the publication of Gerard Depardieu’s open letter, the Prime Minister mitigated his statement in a declaration to the media, during a visit in Clermont-Ferrand. He clarified what he had previously said on television and explained that he used the word « despicable » to describe the act but not Mr. Depardieu himself.

Meanwhile, Gerard Depardieu applied for Russian citizenship. On 20th December, Vladimir Poutine declared that he was ready to grant it to him. Indeed, on 3rd January, a decree was signed granting him the Russian citizenship. Gerard Depardieu declared himself delighted about it.

Stéphia L., 1S1.