independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Court no-show for actor Depardieu

Depardieu with his Russian passport (AP)

French actor Gerard Depardieu will not turn up at a Paris court to face charges of drink-driving, his lawyer has said.

Eric de Caumont confirmed his client's no-show to journalists outside the Palais de Justice in Paris.

The 64-year-old star was detained by police last November after he fell off his scooter in north-west Paris.

Depardieu has caused controversy in recent weeks for other reasons - last Saturday he received a Russian passport from President Vladimir Putin.

Last month, Depardieu threatened to return his French passport after Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called him "pathetic" for deciding to move to tax-friendly Belgium.

The drunken driving hearing will now be deferred to a criminal court, and he could lose his driving licence and could face up to two years in jail, Mr de Caumont said.

In a much publicised letter in December, Depardieu made reference to his headline-grabbing lifestyle: "I won't cast a stone at (people) who have cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes or too much alcohol or those who fall asleep on their scooter: I am one of them, as you dear media outlets like so much to repeat."

In 1998 Depardieu also crashed his motorbike when his blood-alcohol limit was five times over the legal limit, escaping with leg and face injuries.

Press Association

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