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French actor Depardieu moving to Belgium

Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:16 PM   |   Comments

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PARIS, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The mayor of the Belgian village of Nechin says French actor Gerard Depardieu has bought a house and plans to settle there.

Radio France Internationale reported French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called the "Green Card" and "The Man in the Iron Mask" star "pathetic" for allegedly moving out of the country and renouncing his French citizenship for tax reasons. France has a 75 percent tax rate for incomes more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million).

Depardieu, 63, defended his actions in an angry open letter to the prime minister published in the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

"I'm leaving because you think success, creation, talent and anything different should be punished. I am sending you back my passport and social security, which I have never used," Depardieu wrote in the letter, adding the reasons behind his plan to leave France are "numerous and personal."

"I've no place to complain or to boast, but I refuse to be described as pathetic," he said.

The Wall Street Journal said Ayrault's office declined to comment on the letter.

Depardieu's Paris mansion has been up for sale for $65.5 million the past three months, the newspaper Le Parisien reported. RFI said he had intended to convert the building into a high-end hotel.

Depardieu has headlines for a number of incidents unrelated to his acting in recent years. He has a court date in January to face charges he drove his scooter while intoxicated last month in Paris, Sky News reported.

In August, he was accused of punching a motorist who hit him while he was riding his scooter, TheLocal.fr said.

A year earlier, he found himself apologizing for urinating in a bottle during a flight from Paris to Dublin, the BBC said.

In 2009, Depardieu allegedly accosted another motorist in a case eventually settled out of court. Four years earlier, he was accused of punching a photographer in the face, The Local said.

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