Gerard Depardieu was spotted stocking up on his favorite cheese before flying to Italy – sparking rumors that he has finally left France for good after publicly renouncing his citizenship.
Gerard Depardieu, 63, was wheeled out of Ciampino Airport in Rome after publicly slamming the introduction of a new top rate of tax in France in January 2013.
It is unclear whether the actor famous for his roles as Cyrano de Bergerac and Astérix the Gaul’s sidekick Obélix, is just on a short break in Rome or if he is on his way to Belgium, where it is rumored he will settle.
In an angry letter, published in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper, Gerard Depardieu said he had been “insulted” by France’s Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who called him pathetic for wanting to leave France for Belgium to avoid the new 75% top rate of tax.
Gerard Depardieu wrote: “I was born in 1948.
“I started working aged 14, as a printer, as a warehouseman, then as an actor, and I’ve always paid my taxes.”
Over 45 years, Gerard Depardieu said, he had paid 145 million euros in tax, and to this day employs 80 people.
Last year he paid taxes amounting to 85% of his income.
“I am neither worthy of pity nor admirable, but I shall not be called <<pathetic>>,” he concluded, saying that he was sending back his French passport.
Under French President François Hollande’s tough new budget measures to tackle a €37million deficit, France will tax income over €1million at 75% of January 1.
The Belgian Foreign Minister has given carte blanche to anyone planning to follow in Gerard Depardieu’s footsteps and move to Belgium in an attempt to escape higher French taxes.
“If other French people want to come to Belgium, I’m not at all opposed,” Didier Reynders said in an interview with Le Figaro.