Belgian mayor: French actor Depardieu sets up legal residence in town; some suspect tax motive

PARIS - 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 per cent over the first €1 million of annual income. Belgium's top rate is 50 per cent.

Mayor Daniel Senesael of Nechin, about a kilometre 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 email from The Associated Press seeking comment.