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Europe

Depardieu faces 4,000-euro fine for drunk driving in Paris

media Gérard Depardieu brandishes his Russian passport while dressed in traditional costume of the Mordovia federal republic Reuters/Yulia Chestnova

French prosecutors called for Gérard Depardieu to be fined 4,000 euros and lose his driving licence for 10 months in a long-running case for drunk driving that finally came to court Friday. The film star was not in court because he was filming in Chechnya, his lawyer said.

The prosecution refrained from asking for the maximum penalty for the crime - 4,500 euros and up to two years in prison – but still demanded that the actor be punished.

And prosecutor Aurélie Devos declared the fact that he had not turned up in court for the fourth time “frustrating”.

Although Depardieu would have had to appear in person in order to plead guilty, his lawyer, Eric de Caumont, accepted his “responsibility”.

But he took exception to the police report, which stated that Depardieu had 1.8 grams per litre of alcohol in his blood, more than three times the legal limit, and became annoyed when asked to take a test, saying that he did not wish to do so because had had “had a drink”.

The last alcohol consumed by his client, were some glasses of champagne that he had drunk the previous day before taking a flight to France from Uzbekistan, de Caumont said.

Depardieu is a frequent visitor to Uzbekistan, whose leaders he has befriended as he has those of Russia and Chechnya.

He obtained Russian nationality in January, following a row with the French government over a proposed wealth tax.

The trial has previously been put off three times due to Depardieu's non-attendance.

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