French pop star says any business he is considering in the UK has nothing to do with fleeing Paris tax authorities
French pop star Jean Michel Jarre, who has discussed starting an academy for electronic music in London’s Tech City, has denied he was considering tax exile in the UK.
Downing Street confirmed this week that Jarre, famous for his light-show extravaganzas and record-breaking crowd numbers at his concerts, had met officials in September to discuss relocating his business operations within the government-backed Tech City. The coalition’s media and technology hub in east London offers generous tax incentives to investors.
But, amid heated debate in France over wealthy stars seeking tax exile abroad because they oppose François Hollande’s squeeze on the rich, Jarre issued a statement stressing that any business he was considering in London had nothing to do with escaping Paris tax authorities.
Jarre’s representative said meetings with No 10 had touched on collaborating with Tech City, either through creating a school for electronic music or via his business, Jarre Technologies, which develops high-end audio products including the Aerodream One, an 11ft iPod dock, which retails for about £300,000.
“For many years, Jean Michel Jarre has had personal and professional links with the UK, none of which were ever motivated by any French political measures,” he said in the statement.
The musician’s entourage said Jarre, a French citizen, would continue to live in Paris, where his business is based.
Hollande’s promise that the wealthy would have to pay more to dig France out of economic crisis has sparked a row about tax-exile after the actor Gérard Depardieu bought a house across the border in Belgium, prompting the French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, to say: “It’s pathetic, really. Paying taxes is an act of patriotism and we’re asking the rich to make a special effort here for the country.”
Depardieu railed against high taxes in an open a letter published in Le Journal du Dimanche in December, saying he would give up his French passport and was leaving “because you consider that success, creativity, talent, anything different, are grounds for sanction”.