Aides to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy are vehemently denying published reports that he is moving to London to escape his home country's high income taxes, according to a report Tuesday in The Local
, an online English news outlet in France.
Sarkozy, defeated by François Hollande in May, is launching a new investment fund he would manage from Britain's capital, reports Mediapart, a French investigative website that has built a reputation for uncovering political scandals.
Aides to Sarkozy, however, deny the report.
"This claim is just pure fantasy," one staff member told the French daily Le Figaro.
Citing unnamed sources, Mediapart said Sarkozy has been working with adviser and French businessman Alain Minc on "secret preparations" to raise €1 billion from both private investors and financial institutions for the new venture.
But Minc maintains he is not involved in any project with the former head of state.
"Nicolas Sarkozy doesn't need my help to meet the world's biggest investors," Minc told Le Figaro, adding: "It's absurd to think that [Sarkozy] could just move to London and stop paying taxes in France."
Britain's top tax rate is 50 percent, but that will drop to 45 percent in April, which is the same rate that France taxes its highest earners at now.
When he was president, Sarkozy imposed a 50 percent ceiling, a rate that Hollande argued in last year's presidential campaign should be raised to help cut France's growing budget deficit.
If elected, Hollande promised to impose a 75 percent tax on millionaires, a plan the French Constitutional Council struck down last month. Still, the new president is vowing to put the tax hike into effect in 2014.
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