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Jarre in talks over London move

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Jean-Michel Jarre in concert in Epernay, 2010. Photo: François Nascimbeni/AFP
09:36 CET+01:00
French electronic composer Jean Michel Jarre has held talks with Downing Street officials in recent months, the British premier's office confirmed Tuesday, about setting up business operations in London.

The talks come after France's highest court struck down a proposed 75 percent tax rate on individual income above a million euros ($1.3 million) a year, a plan which saw the republic's biggest film star Gérard Depardieu relocate to Belgium.

"Jean Michel Jarre visited Downing Street to meet with officials about 'Tech City', London's media and technology hub," a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron's office told AFP.

"There are a growing number of businesses and entrepreneurs from across the world who want to be part of the technology cluster in east London and we are keen for that to continue."

The 64-year-old pioneer -- known for his spectacular concerts and whose hit albums include "Oxygene" (1976) and "Equinoxe" (1978) – has a company Jarre Technologies, which makes products lke the AeroPad One, a dock speaker for iPods, iPads and iPhones.

Tech City is a project to transform the Old Street roundabout in east London and its environs into a European centre of media and technology innovation for blue-chip firms, investors and start-up companies.

Cameron announced a £50 million ($80 million, €60 million) injection into the project last month.

"The UK is in a global race and I am determined that we as a government continue doing everything we can to equip the UK to compete and thrive in that race," he said.

Cameron's coalition government has set up policies it says are aimed at making Britain the "first choice" for entrepreneurs and investors.

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They include the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, introduced in April 2012, which provides 50 percent tax relief for the first £100,000 seed investment.

The 75 percent tax rate in France was a flagship promise of the election campaign that saw Francois Hollande defeat incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the May 2012 presidential election.

Due to take effect next year, it had angered business leaders and prompted some wealthy French citizens to seek tax exile abroad, including Depardieu, who made his decision known in a vitriolic editorial published earlier this month.

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