Actor Depardieu sets up Belgian investment firm

Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:22am EDT
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Actor Gerard Depardieu, accused by the French government of trying to dodge taxes, has set up a company in neighboring Belgium where taxes on wealth are far lower than in his homeland.

Official documents filed on March 8 show that the star of the films "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Asterix" had set up a firm that would invest in other companies.

Holding 2712, a reference to his birthday on December 27, is based in the Belgian border town of Estaimpuis, just over a kilometer from Nechin, the village where he recently bought a house.

Nechin, a short drive from the French border, is home to some 2,800 French people including the Mulliez family, owners of the French hypermarket chain Auchan and Decathlon sports stores.

Depardieu has had a public row with the French government over tax, accusing it of penalizing success.

Belgian residents do not pay wealth tax, which in France is now levied on individuals with assets exceeding 1.3 million euros ($1.7 million), nor do they pay capital gains tax on the sale of shares.

Depardieu's battle against tax has also prompted him to take Russian citizenship.

Depardieu himself has denied that he was leaving his homeland for tax reasons, without spelling out another motive.

(Reporting By Ben Deighton; Editing by Alistair Lyon; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

French actor Gerard Depardieu delivers a speech during a campaign rally for France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, candidate for the 2012 French presidential election, in Villepinte, northern Paris March 11, 2012. REUTERS/Charles Platiau