The actor’s relocation was criticized by French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, Vanity Fair reports. In a television interview Ayrault referred to Depardieu’s move as “pathetic.”
Depardieu has not openly stated that he left France to avoid the nation’s wealth taxes. In a letter, penned in response to Ayrault’s criticism, he cites his transition as having many causes, including his health, alcohol and the Belgian countryside.
However, he also claims to have paid more than $190 million in taxes to France over the course of his successful movie career. He explicitly added that he is leaving because of his belief that, under the current French government, success and talent are punished.
Depardieu is also critical of French justice. The actor’s now-deceased son was imprisoned on heroin-related charges. He said others who committed similar offenses did not receive similar punishments.
The actor was also arrested last month for driving his scooter while intoxicated.