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Gerard Depardieu slams French PM who called him "pathetic"

The spat comes after Gerard Depardieu said he would follow a number of rich French people in giving up their citizenship because of the increasing tax burden they have been forced to pay.
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French actor Gerard Depardieu said that he will move to Belgium and give up his French passport because of the increasing tax burden under the new Socialist government. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

French actor Gerard Depardieu wrote an open letter to the French Prime Minister Sunday over tax shelter controversy.

The spat comes after Gerard Depardieu said he would follow a number of rich French people in giving up their citizenship because of the increasing tax burden they have been forced to pay.

Depardieu recently bought a house in the Belgian village Nechin, where French nationals have taken up residence to escape taxes, said Bloomberg.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called his move "pathetic" and unpatriotic.

Depardieu responded to Ayrault in an open letter to Le Journal du Dimanche saying that he had nothing to be sorry for.

The French actor, famous for his role as Cyrano de Bergerac, said that he was willing to give up his passport because “success, creation and talent are being penalized,” reported Euronews.

The letter read: "At no moment did I fail in my responsibilities. The historic films on which I worked bear witness to my love for France and its history."

He went on to write: "I leave after having paid in 2012, 85 percent of my revenue in taxes. Yet, I keep in me the spirit of beautiful France and I hope it stays that way."

Depardieu's departure comes during a time when some of France's wealthiest have said they would leave if taxes became any higher.

Three months ago, Bernard Arnault, France's richest man and CEO of luxury brand LVMH said he would give up his passport and seek residency in Belgium.

Though he said it was not for tax reasons, many people believe it most certainly was.

Euronews pointed out that Belgian does not pay tax on wealth nor do its residents pay capital gains tax on share sales.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/hollyworld/gerard-depardieu-slams-french-pm-who-called-him-pathetic