Gerard Depardieu (pictured) has said that he will return his French passport and leave his homeland, in an exasperated letter published yesterday, firing back at the Socialist government's criticism of his decision to seek tax exile in Belgium.
The French actor, whose eccentric personality has come to symbolise a certain, old-fashioned form of Gallic love for good food and the pleasures in life, says he is finished with the country, in a letter published in the 'Journal du Dimanche'.
It is addressed to Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French prime minister, who described Depardieu as "pathetic" for wanting to move just over the border to the wealthy Belgian village of Nechin, where he will evade the tax rises imposed by President Francois Hollande's government.
"I am handing over to you my passport and social security, which I have never used," he writes in the letter.
Following news of his plans to sell his large Paris home, Depardieu has come in for public scorn.
A socialist MP said the actor should be stripped of his nationality and Mr Hollande said "everyone must behave ethically" after being questioned about Depardieu's move. (© Daily Telegraph, London)