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Rocker Johnny faces tax probe

MP challenges Hallyday on evasion as he is betrayed by social networks showing he spent little time in Swiss tax haven

AGEING rock idol Johnny Hallyday could face a tax investigation in France and Switzerland to prove that he is not a tax dodger after journalists checked photos he had posted on social networks showing he spent little time in the tax haven.

Reporters from Télévision Suisse Romande showed that over the past two years he and his wife Laeticia had posted dated and geolocalised photos on Instagram and Twitter showing them in France, the US and elsewhere but spending very little time at their chalet in Gstaadt, their home and tax residence.

The TSR journalists said in their report: “For the past two years they have regularly shared their private photos on social networks: photos of concerts, of the family, on holiday – all geolocalised and dated. If the Bernese tax regime enjoyed by the famous couple was based on what he published on Instagram or Twitter, it would be difficult to continue to claim the advantage.”

French MP Yann Galut (Cher) has asked the rocker to “clarify his tax situation” in France to prove that he is not dodging tax by claiming to live in the canton of Berne in Switzerland, where he has an obligation to live six months and one day to benefit from its tax regime.

The former head of the National Assembly committee reporting on tax fraud said: “If these revelations are true, Jean-Philippe Smet [Hallyday’s real name] ceases to be in the category of tax exile – which, although sometimes immoral, is legal – and becomes a tax evader, a category that is particularly scandalous and totally reprehensible. He could be investigated under French law for having organised a tax fraud.”

Back in 2012 the couple had faced the same questions and the rocker had replied on RTL that they split their time “between Los Angeles and Paris”.

Last year more than 11,000 tax dodgers asked to regularise their situation with the French taxman in advance of tougher tax rules and Mr Galut said that the “Hallydays had, openly scorned the Swiss and French tax rules” and it could not continue.
Photo: Georges Biard

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