• France's news in English
 

Depardieu to face drink-driving charges

Published: 08 Jan 2013 09:12 GMT+01:00

Depardieu, whose flight into tax exile has embarrassed French President François Hollande as he seeks to impose a 75-percent upper income tax, is to appear for sentencing after admitting to the charge.

He was detained in the French capital in November after falling off his scooter, which he had been riding while more than three times over the legal alcohol limit.

No one was injured and, having admitted the offence, he is expected to escape with a fine and penalty points on his driving licence.

He is due to appear before prosecutors at 0830 GMT and later before a judge, but it was not clear whether Depardieu would deign to show up.

On Monday the court refused Depardieu's request to postpone the hearing for a second time, his lawyer Eric de Caumont said, adding that the actor's presence at the hearing was not certain. A failure to appear could lead to a criminal court hearing.

The 64-year-old "Cyrano de Bergerac", "Green Card" and "Asterix & Obelix" star was due in Paris after attending one of football's top award ceremonies, the Ballon d'Or, in Switzerland on Monday, and spending the weekend in Russia.

Speaking to French television from Zurich, Depardieu insisted he was still French.

"I have a Russian passport, but I am French and will certainly have dual Belgian citizenship," he said, claiming to be a "citizen of the world".

Depardieu was given a rapturous welcome in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin personally awarded him a Russian passport.

Putin's move was the latest volley in a highly publicised row between Depardieu and the French government over its attempt to raise the tax rate on earnings of more than one million euros ($1.3 million) to 75 percent.

When Depardieu first announced he would leave the country to avoid the tax, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded the move "pathetic" – prompting the actor to threaten to give up his French citizenship.

France's top constitutional authority, the Constitutional Council, struck down the tax rate on December 29, but French authorities have vowed to push ahead with the tax.

Hollande, who defeated right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidency in May, is struggling to balance France's budget amid a stagnant economy and rising unemployment.

Hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Depardieu has in recent years become as famed for his erratic behaviour as for his acting talents.

In August, he was cautioned after punching a car driver who had forced him to swerve on his scooter, and in 2011 he generated global headlines when he tried to urinate in a bottle aboard a plane as it prepared to take off from Paris for Dublin.

Some experts said Depardieu's recent behaviour would almost certainly have an impact on his career.

"It is going to hurt him because it's getting to be a lot," said Virginie Spies, a media analyst at the University of Avignon. "I wouldn't have said that two or three days ago, but after Russia, it's getting complicated."

But others said the French public had become accustomed to Depardieu's antics and would continue to support him at the box office.

Depardieu is "a great ham, always excessive. Ridicule does not kill, it will not kill him professionally", said Alain Grasset, film critic for newspaper Le Parisien.

Depardieu has "a lot of film projects to come. He is very sought after, omnipresent. Cinema cannot do without him," Grasset said.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paris Fashion week goes Haute Couture
Haute Couture from Schiaparelli. Photo: Screen grab.

Paris Fashion week goes Haute Couture

Paris Fashion Week shifts up a gear on Sunday with its marquee event: the Haute Couture shows that happen only in the French capital. READ  

Six skiers killed in avalanche in French Alps
Rescuers carry the body of one of six avalanche victims past the church in the village of Ceillac near the French border with Italy. Photo: JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT / AFP

Six skiers killed in avalanche in French Alps

Rescue workers on Sunday found the bodies of six skiers who went missing a day earlier after being carried away by an avalanche during a trek in the Queyras mountain range in the French Alps, police said. READ  

Israeli store drops Charlie Hebdo promo
A branch of Steimatzky in Ramat HaSharon. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/דוד שי

Israeli store drops Charlie Hebdo promo

An Israeli book chain has dropped plans for an in-store promotion for the latest edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, with a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed, local media said on Saturday. READ  

Frenchman charged with inciting children to jihad
Children being indoctrinated into supporting Islamic State. Photo: Elif Media

Frenchman charged with inciting children to jihad

A father-of-three, suspected of bombarding his children with violent images glorifying jihad, has been charged with "inciting acts of terrorism", prosecutors in southeastern France said on Saturday. READ  

Charlie 'survivors issue' sells more than 7 million
Disappointed customers, hoping to get their hands on Charlie Hebdo are turned away from a news stand in Paris. Photo: The Local

Charlie 'survivors issue' sells more than 7 million

Circulation of the "survivors'" issue of Charlie Hebdo, published after a deadly attack on the French satirical weekly's Paris office, is set to top seven million, more than a hundred times its normal circulation, the distributor said Friday. READ  

Second Frenchman charged for Luxleaks
European Commission head Claude Juncker meets French President François Hollande. Photo: PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP

Second Frenchman charged for Luxleaks

A second French suspect was charged Friday with theft and money-laundering in ongoing investigations into the leaking of secret tax avoidance deals between Luxembourg and multinational companies, a scandal dubbed Luxleaks. READ  

Muslims pray for France as reprisals soar
Muslims pray at the Strasbourg Mosque in eastern France. Photo: AFP

Muslims pray for France as reprisals soar

Muslims at over 2,000 mosques in France will gather at 1:30pm on Friday to pray for France and its future. Meanwhile, there have been more anti-Muslim incidents recorded in the last two weeks in France than in the whole of 2014. READ  

Ten French words you'll never hear in France
Ten French words that you'll never hear in France. Photo: Shutterstock

Ten French words you'll never hear in France

Ever heard someone say "Tiggy-doo?" in France? It's French (actually spelled Tiguidou) and it's just one example of a long list of Gallic words that you'll never come across in France. READ  

FOCUS - From France to jihad
The unlikely jihadist who gave up life in France
Many people living in France have left the country to join jihadists. Photo: AFP

The unlikely jihadist who gave up life in France

A young man with a promising future has astonished friends and family by leaving France to join jihadists in Syria. As more Europeans leave for Syria, experts say that most come from poverty and broken homes. READ  

Could France be the next country to ban sunbeds?
Could sunbeds soon be banned in France? Photo: Greg Wood/AFP

Could France be the next country to ban sunbeds?

France has around 40,000 sunbeds in tanning lounges around the country but could they soon become outlawed? One of the country’s leading consumer rights associations has called for them to be banned due to the health risks. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Health
Could France be the next country to ban sunbeds?
Gallery
Ten French words you will never hear in France
National
Wrap up warm: Big freeze to hit northern France at the weekend
National
Muslims in France - 'They say we're not French'
National
Paris wants New York-inspired 'citizen cards'
Gallery
An architect has shown how he thinks Paris should look in 2050
Culture
Where are the real "no-go zones" in Paris? We've listed 10.
Society
Cheese diet helps oldest Frenchman live to 110
National
Charlie Hebdo chief stands firm over cartoons as global protests spread
National
To be or not to be Charlie? Muhammad cartoons divide French
National
'It feels like I'm in a warzone': Paris tourist
National
Are there really 'no-go zones' in Paris?
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
National
A futuristic vision of Paris revealed... and other news
National
What now for France post-terror attacks?
National
France to beef up its surveillance powers
National
Charlie Hebdo sells out within hours in France
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects in Sweden and across Europe
National
France moves to crack down on terror speech in aftermath of attacks
National
French Muslims react to Charlie Hebdo's Muhammad cover
National
'I only had a few seconds to hide from the Kouachis'
National
After three days of terror France feels like a nation
National
IN PICTURES: France's biggest street demos in recent history
National
And in other news in France ...
National
A defiant France rises up on solidarity like never before
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Paris marches for unity after terror attacks
National
OPINION: 'As bloody as it's been, France is not at war'
National
'It's a true nightmare': Parisians react to terror attacks
National
French to march in unity to help heal their wounded nation
National
Profile: the most wanted woman in France
National
Twitter disgust over 'I am Kouachi' hashtag
National
The incredible stories of how some survived the Paris gunmen
National
Al Qaeda threatens a shaken France with more terror
Gallery
The Paris terror attacks from start to end in 27 photographs
National
Global leaders to stand side by side with France
National
French Muslim leaders slam 'odious' attacks
National
Charlie Hebdo gunmen killed as twin siege ends
Gallery
10 of the most powerful cartoons after the Charlie Hebdo attacks
National
Disunited: French far-right 'barred' from national unity rally in Paris
National
Muslim targets attacked after magazine killings
National
What we know about the Charlie Hebdo suspects
National
'They won't kill freedom' - The world's media react to the Paris attack
'We are all Charlie Hebdo' - France rallies for victims of terror attacks
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

458
jobs available