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French actor Isabelle Adjani gets 2 year suspended sentence for tax evasion and money laundering

French actor Isabelle Adjani attends the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
French actor Isabelle Adjani attends the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Copyright Daniel Cole/AP Photo
Copyright Daniel Cole/AP Photo
By Anca Ulea
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Award-winning actress Isabelle Adjani, who did not attend her trial in Paris due to “acute illness”, received a €250,000 fine and two-year suspended sentence for tax evasion.

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Isabelle Adjani, one of France’s most decorated actors, has been found guilty of tax evasion and money laundering by a Paris court. .

A judge handed the five-time César winner a €250,000 fine and two-year suspended sentence, a harsher penalty than prosecutors had initially requested.

Adjani was convicted of fraudulently declaring her primary residence was located in Portugal in 2016 and 2017, to avoid paying €236,000 in taxes in France.

The judge also ruled that she had falsely claimed a €2 million gift she received in 2013 was a loan to avoid paying 60 percent tax, and that she illegally transferred €120,000 from an offshore account to another undeclared account in the US. That money was later transferred to her account in Portugal.

Adjani, who did not attend her trial due to what her lawyers said was an “acute illness” that prevented her from leaving New York City, has denied all the charges.

At an October hearing, prosecutors had requested an 18-month prison sentence for the 68-year-old actress, who became a person of interest after her name appeared in the Panama Papers.

The prosecution said Adjani “systematically tried to pay less income tax between 2013 and 2017 and, instead of legally saving money by adjusting her lifestyle, she chose to illegally save money (by evading) taxes.”

Adjani’s lawyers claim she is being treated more harshly due to her celebrity and that the actress had no intention to commit fraud.

Her defence team says she received the €2 million loan in a time of financial distress, and that she was planning on paying it back over the course of 10 years.

The €120,000 transfer was initiated by her “Swiss lawyer” according to her defence team, and given as a “donation to the family of her governess, so she could buy a house in Portugal.”

“(Adjani) is someone who is very trusting, and who has seen her trust betrayed. She is not someone who is out looking to commit fraud,” her lawyer Olivier Pardo told the court.

Adjani is best known for the cult 1981 horror film Possession, as well as films like Camille Claudel and La Reine Margot.

She's the only performer who has won five César awards, often referred to as the French Oscars. She was also nominated for two Oscars for her roles in Camille Claudel and The Story of Adele H.

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