Gerard Depardieu Slams French Government Over High Taxes

Threatens to shop for a new nationality after seeking refuge in Belgium


French star Gerard Depardieu has upped the ante in his tax battle with the government of French President Francois Hollande, threatening to hand back his French passport in protest.

In an open letter to President Hollande and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault published Sunday in Le Journal du Dimanche, the Oscar-nominated actor said he was "insulted" by government attacks on his decision to move to a town in Belgium just across the French border in an apparent attempt to avoid paying higher French taxes.

Depardieu's move comes in response to a new 75 percent tax on the wealthy introduced by Hollande's left-leaning government. The new tax rate, which comes in next year, will tax all income above $1.3 million (€1 million) at the new 75 percent rate. Across the border in Belgium, there is no wealth tax and capital gains on stock sales are also tax-free.