Entertainment News

  • 24 June 2013, 7:17

Gerard Depardieu Fined Over Drunk Scooter Ride

French actor Gerard Depardieu has been ordered to pay 4,000 euros (£3,400) and surrender his driver's licence after being convicted of driving a scooter when drunk.

The 64-year-old star, who is in Russia after falling out with his native country over a tax feud, was arrested in November after falling off his two-wheeled vehicle in Paris.

French police found he was more than three times over the legal alcohol limit. The court in Paris fined him and suspended his licence.

Depardieu's lawyer said the actor claimed he had only drunk a couple of glasses of Champagne, several hours before driving.

But he was sentenced in his absence after repeatedly skipping court appearances.

Depardieu has in recent weeks been filming a movie in Russia. He has been seen in the country regularly after taking up citizenship recently as a protest.

He faced a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison, but prosecutors did not ask for jail time.

The actor's lawyer, Eric de Caumont, said he was disappointed by the ruling.

He said: "I will inform Gerard Depardieu of the ruling in the coming hours and will see him next week in Moscow, where he is shooting a film."

He said a decision had not yet been made on whether to launch an appeal against the ruling.

Hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Depardieu starred in films including Green Card, Cyrano De Bergerac and Jean De Florette.

He also owns a number of businesses, including vineyards.

But in recent years he has become as famed for his off-screen behaviour as for his acting talents.

The star announced in November he was moving abroad after President Francois Hollande's†socialist government sought to impose a 75% tax rate on annual incomes over one million euros.

He took up residency in Belgium and was then granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin.

The decision sparked controversy, as have his friendships with Putin and Chechnya's strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Depardieu recently told a French newspaper he considered himself a "citizen of the world" and said he was also applying for an Algerian passport. He said he hoped eventually to have citizenship in seven countries.

In August, he was cautioned after punching a motorist who had forced him to swerve on his scooter, and in 2011 he generated global headlines when he tried to urinate in a bottle aboard a plane as it prepared to take off from Paris for Dublin.

In the interview with Le Journal du Dimanche earlier this month, Depardieu described himself as "someone who is a bit of a rebel, who shakes things up and who is sometimes drunk".