Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France who was defeated for re-election in May, may become the latest high-profile rich guy to flee the country over the 75 percent millionaires tax according to multiple media reports.
Sarkozy and his wife, supermodel Carla Bruni, are reportedly moving to London where he will run a new $1 billion investment firm.
The French news outlet Mediapart broke the story about Sarkozy’s purported relocation to the UK according to the London Telegraph:
“[Sarkozy] has been using his new job as a highly paid international conference speaker to try and stump up capital for the new venture … The move would make the 57-year old Right-winger the latest in a tide of high-profile French figures to circumvent taxes hikes introduced by his Socialist successor, Francois Hollande.”
London’s Daily Mail reports that the alleged plan was revealed when French police — who are investigating Sarkozy in connection with a corruption inquiry — discovered computer files related to the move while searching his Paris mansion.
Sarkozy would have no hope for a political comeback in France if this report is true, and he has issued a denial of sorts through intermediaries according to the Daily Mail:
“Mr. Sarkozy has recently had meetings with numerous movers and shakers in the world of high finance during high-profile trips to places like Qatar and London. But today Mr. Sarkozy played down the Mediapart reports through his aides, with one saying that they were the result of ‘intellectual constructs.’ “
You’ll recall that actor Gerard Depardieu created huge headlines when he recently became a tax exile.
Regardless of one’s personal opinion about very rich individuals, raising taxes to a confiscatory level — whether in France or here — at the upper end of the income scale generally poses two contradictions: (a) high-end people tend to have lawyers and accountants and political connections to find tax-avoidance loopholes, and (b) because of (a), tax-hungry politicians unwilling to cut wasteful government spending tend to come after the middle class eventually anyway.