Court fines Depardieu €4,000 for drunk driving

AFP/The Local
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Court fines Depardieu €4,000 for drunk driving
French actor Gérard Depardieu, pictured mounting a scooter in Paris on January 4th. On June 21st he was fined €4,000 for falling off it while drunk. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

A court on Friday handed down eccentric French actor Gérard Depardieu's long-awaited punishment for drunk driving, after a series of missed court dates. Dépardieu was fined €4,000 and had his driver's license suspended for 6 months.


The 64-year-old star, who has made headlines in recent months with erratic behaviour and a tax feud with French authorities, was arrested in November after falling off his scooter while more than three times over the legal alcohol limit.

He was sentenced in his absence after repeatedly skipping court appearances. Depardieu has in recent weeks been filming a movie in Russia.

He faced a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison, though prosecutors had not called for jail time.

Hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Depardieu starred in films including "Green Card", "Cyrano de Bergerac", "Jean de Florette" and the "Asterix & Obelix" series.

He also owns a number of businesses including vineyards.

But in recent years he has become as famed for his off-screen behaviour as for his acting talents.

The star announced in November he was moving abroad after President François Hollande's Socialist government sought to impose a 75 percent tax rate on incomes over one million euros.

He took up residency in Belgium and was granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin.

The decision sparked controversy, as has as his self-avowed friendships with Putin and Chechnya's strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Depardieu recently told a French newspaper he considered himself a "citizen of the world" and said he was applying for an Algerian passport and hoped eventually to have citizenship in seven countries.

In August, he was cautioned after punching a motorist 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.

In the interview with Le Journal du Dimanche earlier this month, Depardieu described himself as "someone who is a bit of a rebel, who shakes things up and who is sometimes drunk."


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