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Depardieu Skips French Court Appearance On Drunk-Driving Charge

French actor Gerard Depardieu enters his Paris home in December, one month after the scooter accident that stemmed the drunk-driving charge.
French actor Gerard Depardieu has failed to appear in a Paris court to face drunk driving charges.

Depardieu's lawyer said on January 8 that his client is "abroad for professional reasons."

The charges resulted from an incident in Paris in November, when he fell off his scooter while reportedly more than three times over the legal alcohol limit.

Depardieu's lawyer says his failure to show up means he now faces trial in criminal court.

The court case comes as Depardieu is involved in a high-profile tax row with French authorities that led to his requesting and receiving a Russian passport.

Over the weekend, he was in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin personally handed him his new Russian passport.

He was in Switzerland on January 7 attending a football award ceremony.

Based on reporting by AFP, BBC, and dpa