Gerard Depardieu To Appear In Court

on January 08 2013 2:02 AM
Gerard Depardieu
French actor Gerard Depardieu addresses the media on his latest sparkling wine edition at the Paasburg's winery store in Berlin, November 30, 2010. Depardieu on Tuesday presented the first of 17,000 bottles of Taille Princesse Rose de Gerard Depardieu by Bouvet-Ladubay, that is made of parts of his vineyard Chateau de Tigne located at the French Loire area. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Actor Gerard Depardieu, who left France to accept Russian citizenship over the weekend, is expected to appear before a court in Paris Tuesday on charges of drunk driving.

Depardieu was detained in the French capital in November after he was found to be three times over the legal alcohol limit following a scooter accident.

No one was injured, and, since he pleaded guilty, Depardieu is expected to escape with a fine and penalty points on his driving license, according to an Associated Press report.

Drunk driving can invite a maximum fine of 4,500 euros ($5,880) and a sentence of up to two years in prison along with six penalty points, according to a BBC report.

The Paris court Monday refused Depardieu’s request to postpone the hearing for a second time. A failure to appear before the prosecutors and later before a judge at the scheduled time may lead to a criminal court hearing.

Depardieu flew to Russia "on a private visit" Saturday evening and was presented with a Russian passport.

Putin signed a decree Thursday granting Russian citizenship to Depardieu, who had threatened to quit France over French Socialist President Francois Hollande's plans for a 75 percent tax rate on all earnings over 1 million euros.

However, in an interview Monday -- the first since a row broke out in December over his decision to quit France -- Depardieu denied that he had left France for tax reasons.

"I have a Russian passport, but I remain French, and I will probably have dual Belgian nationality,” Depardieu said in the interview with French sports channel L’Equipe21.

“But if I'd wanted to escape the taxman, as the French press say, I would have done it a long time ago," he said.

When Depardieu first announced he would leave the country over the tax issue, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault described the move as "pathetic," which apparently prompted the actor to threaten to give up his French citizenship.

Depardieu was given a warm welcome in Russia and offered a free apartment or land in Saransk, a small town east of Moscow.

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