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Lifestyle

January 9, 2013

Depardieu skips drunk driving hearing in France

(Continued)

On Saturday, he received a Russian passport directly from Putin; on Monday he appeared at the FIFA awards ceremony in Zurich. And on Tuesday he was in Montenegro, apparently looking at property and meeting with the prime minister.

“I’m not a collector of passports, I’m a citizen of Europe and I hope to be a citizen of the world,” he said, as he stood with Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and showed his Russian passport. “I owe nothing to the French state.”

Depardieu’s lawyer Eric de Caumont said his client was not trying to dodge French justice, but was abroad “meeting the producers of a movie,” whose filming in New York will begin in January. He did not elaborate.

Depardieu has previously starred in films such as “Green Card” and “Cyrano de Bergerac.”

Similar excuses are commonly accepted in French courts, according to Christopher Mesnooh, a lawyer in Paris who is not linked to the Depardieu case. But missing a second hearing will not get the same understanding, Mesnooh noted.

The drunken driving hearing will now be deferred to a criminal court and Depardieu could lose his driving license and could face up to two years in jail, Caumont said.

It’s not the actor’s first tangle with alcohol. In 1998, Depardieu crashed his motorcycle when his blood-alcohol level was five times over the legal limit, escaping with leg and face injuries.

Depardieu’s former wife said his latest dramas have a deeper cause.

“He has a tempest within him and is deeply unhappy,” Elisabeth Depardieu told RTL in a radio interview. “In leaving (France), I don’t think he’s fully realized what he’s done.”

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