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Depardieu due back in court on drink-driving charge

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Gerard Depardieu was due in a Paris court Friday to face a drink-driving charge but it was unclear whether the eccentric French actor would show up after skipping a previous court date.

Depardieu, who has sparked controversy in recent months by moving to Belgium and taking Russian citizenship amid a tax row with French authorities, failed to appear for a previous hearing in January.

The 64-year-old is expected to admit to the charge and escape with a fine and penalty points to his driving licence.

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

Depardieu said he had missed the previous court appearance in order to work on a film in Montenegro in which he will play disgraced former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

He risks facing criminal prosecution if he continues to avoid appearing in court.

The "Green Card" and "Cyrano de Bergerac" star announced in November he was moving abroad after President Francois Hollande's Socialist government sought to impose a 75 percent tax rate on incomes over one million euros ($1.3 million).

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded the move "pathetic" and Depardieu struck back with a series of rants against the government, including an interview with Belgian media last month in which he said France was "sad" and that French people were "fed up".

After an offer from President Vladimir Putin, Depardieu also took up Russian citizenship.

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.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130404/depardieu-due-back-court-drink-driving-charge