French star Depardieu moves to lower-tax Belgium

French actor Gerard Depardieu reacts during a news conference to the competition film "Mammuth" at the 60th International Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, Feb. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/dapd/Hermann J. Knippertz)

December 10, 2012 7:48:39 AM PST
A Belgian mayor says famed French actor Gerard Depardieu has bought a home and set up legal residence in his small town, lured by the food, the people, the lifestyle - and lower tax rates than back home.

The Socialist government under French President Francois Hollande has infuriated many ultra-rich in France by presenting a 2013 budget that would tax top earners at 75 percent over the first ?1 million of annual income. Belgium's top rate is 50 percent.

Mayor Daniel Senesael of Nechin, about a kilometer inside Belgium near the French city of Lille, said that "in our conversation, his reasons were also other than those about taxes," RTL radio reported.

Depardieu's talent agent didn't immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment.