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Gerard Depardieu skips court date in France

From WENN.com

The actor has been a regular in the headlines of his home country since he announced he was moving to neighbouring Belgium amid a dispute over government plans to raise taxes on the wealthy.

He recently became a Russian citizen after accepting a new passport from President Vladimir Putin, but was expected to return home to his native France this week (beg07Jan13) to appear before magistrates and hear his sentence over a scooter crash in Paris in November (12).

Depardieu pleaded guilty to a drink-driving charge stemming from the incident after he was found to be three times over the country's legal alcohol limit, and he faces a possible two-year prison sentence and a fine.

However, Depardieu failed to appear for the scheduled Monday morning hearing.

Reports suggest Depardieu, who was denied a request to have the hearing postponed, could be slapped with the maximum possible sentence for failing to attend the court date.

The actor's lawyer Eric de Caumont told reporters outside the court his client was ""abroad for professional reasons,"" adding, ""He had professional obligations as he had to meet producers for a film shoot that will start mid-January.""

The Green Card star was in Russia over the weekend (05-06Jan13) to pick up his new passport, and he was in Switzerland on Monday night (07Jan13) to attend the annual Ballon D'Or soccer award ceremony.

Depardieu is now expected to face a hearing at a criminal court in Paris later this year (13).

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