Court ‘won’t delay’ Depardieu drunk hearing

A Paris court has refused Gérard Depardieu's request to postpone for a second time his appearance on drunk driving charges, the French actor's lawyer said Monday.

Lawyer Eric de Caumont added however that the presence of his client – who after a rapturous welcome in Russia flew to Switzerland to attend a top football award ceremony – at the hearing scheduled for Tuesday was not certain.

Depardieu was arrested 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 has already had one hearing postponed but prosecutors refused a second postponement, his lawyer said.

A day after receiving a Russian passport, having vowed to quit France over a tax row, Depardieu was to attend the the Ballon D'Or football awards in Zurich later Monday.

He threatened to renounce his French citizenship after French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded him pathetic for announcing plans to become a tax exile to avoid paying a 75-percent tax rate.

In what some pundits have described as a publicity stunt, the Kremlin seized the opportunity to offer him citizenship and the chance to pay a flat tax rate of 13 percent if he lives in Russia for more than half the year.

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