Depardieu to renounce French citizenship
French movie star Gerard Depardieu, whose relocation to a village of tax exiles in Belgium was disclosed a week ago, has told French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault that he will give up his French passport.
"None of those who have left France have been as insulted as I have been," he said in an open letter published on Sunday by the newspaper Journal de Dimanche.
"I am leaving after having paid taxes of 85 per cent tax on my income in 2012.
"I am surrendering my passport" ... Gerard Depardieu. Photo: AFP
"I am surrendering my passport and the social security which I have never made use of," added Depardieu, 63, of Obelix fame.
He said he did not require everyone to agree with him, but did expect respect.
In a mid-week television interview, Ayrault had called the relocation "quite shabby" and not "patriotic."
"I find it quite pathetic," Ayrault said. "Everyone loves him as an artist but paying your taxes is an act of solidarity and patriotism."
Depardieu, who was France's best-paid actor in 2008, has been pilloried by the French media for moving to Nechin, a village in southern Belgium, a kilometre from the French town of Roubaix.
He asserted in the Sunday letter that he had paid $178.43 million in taxes over 45 years.
He originally claimed he "wanted to leave Paris, the city, its sometimes noisy aspects and find a little quiet, peace and serenity."
Nechin has many rich French residents who prefer Belgium's lower income taxes.
Real estate agents said last week that Depardieu was selling his Paris home - an 1800 square metre 19th-century mansion that boasts gardens and a swimming pool - amid reports of a 50 million euro price tag.