Montenegro Asks Depardieu to Act as Ambassador

As the film star visits Montenegro negotiating a deal for a film, the Prime Minister has asked him to become a cultural ambassador for the country in the world.Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic suggested after meeting Depardieu on Tuesday that the actor might become a “cultural ambassador” for Montenegro.

Djukanovic said Depardieu appeared willing to act as a form of ambassador for Montenegro and its culture and so contribute to the promotion of the Balkan country in the world.

“It is a chance for our cultural potential in the broadest sense to be presented to the international public, thus placing… Montenegro’s specific values in a better position during the [EU] integration process,” Djukanovic said on Tuesday.

Depardieu, who recently obtained Russian citizenship, allegedly to avoid paying the high taxes imposed on the rich in France, said in Podgorica that Montenegro was “a country of enormous potential and it has every right to be a part of Europe”.

He said he was captivated by its natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history, and was ready to promote Montenegro in the world, partly by making films there and by bringing reputable filmmakers to Montenegro.

The actor came to Montenegro after skipping a court hearing on drink-driving charges in Paris on Tuesday.

His lawyer, Eric de Caumont, told reporters in Paris that Depardieu had missed the hearing because he was in Montenegro for meetings about a film in which he will play the disgraced former IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The film star, who has become the most high-profile tax exile from France, has at times suggested that he might make Montenegro his tax haven. Montenegro has one of the lowest tax rates in Europe that stands at 9 per cent.

Last month, before he took out a Russian passport, the 63-year-old star cited Montenegro as one of three countries where he might seek citizenship in order to avoid the French Socialist government’s high taxes.

He already had “friends and some businesses” in the country, he noted.

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