Depardieu fined €4,000 and banned from driving for six months for drink driving
French actor found to be three times over legal limit when he fell off scooter last November
Gérard Depardieu was found to have 1.8g of alcohol per litre of blood, more than three times the legal limit of 0.5g. Photograph: Reuters/Eric Gaillard
The exiled French actor Gérard Depardieu was yesterday fined €4,000 and banned from driving for six months. Depardieu (64) fell off his scooter in Paris one afternoon last November. He was found to have 1.8g of alcohol per litre of blood, more than three times the legal limit of 0.5g.
Depardieu did not attend his trial, which was postponed three times at his request. Nor did he attend the sentencing yesterday.
The conviction for drink driving was only the latest episode in the actor’s long fall from grace. The star of highly regarded films such as Cyrano de Bergerac, Jean de Florette, The Last Metro and Green Card also acted in numerous flops. Last year he was sued by a motorist for assault and battery following a dispute. In August 2011 he was thrown off a CityJet flight from Paris to Dublin after urinating publicly in a bottle.
Last December Depardieu reportedly purchased a house in the tiny Belgian border town of Néchin after complaining that he had paid 87 per cent of his income in French tax the previous year.
French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Depardieu “pathetic”. Depardieu turned in his French passport and left the country. Russian president Vladimir Putin offered him citizenship in January. In Saransk, 700km from Moscow, the governor of the Russian republic of Mordovia offered Depardieu the post of minister of culture. The Frenchman has also struck up a friendship with the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
In a recent interview with Journal du dimanche, Depardieu said he believed the majority of French people still loved him. “I think I correspond to an image the French like: that of someone who is rebellious, who shakes things up, who is drunk sometimes. It’s this hooligan spirit that Putin likes so much.”
Depardieu has had difficulty selling his 1,800 sq m townhouse in the rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris’s 6th arrondissement – asking price €50 million. In March he proposed turning it into a Russian cultural foundation. In April Depardieu travelled to New York to play the role of another Frenchman prone to excess, the former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, in Abel Ferrara’s film Welcome to New York.
Depardieu claims he has seven passports and considers himself “a free man and a citizen of the world” and does not want to have to ask for visas.