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French top bosses' pay rises despite crisis

media Publicis boss Maurice Lévy was paid 19.6 million euros in 2011 Wikipedia

The income of France’s top 40 bosses rose four per cent despite the economic crisis, a report claimed Tuesday. Fourteen of them are earning 240 times the minimum wage or more.

Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, on a visit to Moscow Wednesday, declined to participate” in the debate on his annual income, put at 13.3 million euros by the Proxinvest financial research group.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault described film star Gérard Depardieu's decision to move to Belgium to dodge the 75 per cent top tax rate as "quite pathetic" on Wednesday.

Culture Minister Aurélie Filipetti also "deplored" it but ruled out a proposal by a Socialist backbencher to strip the actor of his citizenship.

Ghosn came in second in the league table of best-paid French bosses, following Maurice Lévy of advertising group Publicis, who pocketed 19.6 million euros in 2011, according to the Proxinvest study, making him the best-paid boss in Europe.

Aerospace gaint Dassault Systemes boss, Bernard Charlès, came third at 10.9 million euros.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Proxinvest’s report covered the incomes of the 40 bosses of companies quoted on the France’s Cac-40 shares index.

It put their average income in 2011 at 4.25 million euros, lower than before the crisis hit in 2007 when it stood at 4.73 million euros, but on the way up. The average in 2010 was four per cent lower.

The Cac-40 fell 17 per cent in 2011.

The average income is 10 times higher than the ceiling fixed by the Socialist government for public-sector industry chiefs.

In August the government started a consultation on top incomes with private-sector leaders and said it was planning to introduce a law on the question in 2013.

One of the measures that may be introduced is giving shareholders the right to vote in managing directors’ pay.

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