In the 1970s, Charles Aznavour had some trouble with the French tax authorities. His friend and producer Gérard Davoust recounts his misadventures in the book Charles Aznavour seen from behindpublished this Thursday, May 19, 2022.
The life of Charles Aznavour was filled with adventures, successes and joys of all kinds. In Charles Aznavour seen from behind (editions du Cherche-Midi), biographical book published this Thursday, May 19 and co-written by his friends Erik Berchot and Gérard Davoust, we also talk about trouble he had with the French tax authoritiesin the 1970s. His producer Gérard Davoust recounts in particular the singer’s anger when he understands that he will not benefit from the expense deductions and the 20% tax reduction, in the same way as industrialists while with his concerts abroad, he “has brought billions into the coffers of France”he will say at his trial in 1977. Aznavour then made the assumed choice of exile, which he crowned with a daring declaration in the newspapers: “If my investment is not taken into account, well, I’m off!”
The interpreter of My troubles, does not stop there. He details and gets annoyed: “It’s my money, I do what I want with it! I paid my taxes, I’m free. I can buy myself a Cadillac, but I’m not allowed to give one to my children. If I do, they tax me”he had proclaimed in the press, before concluding: “Since you don’t want to hear me, I’m going abroad. This is money that I earned outside our borders.” taken to court, the case lasts several years and cost Charles Aznavour a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of three million francs, for tax evasion.
One year in prison and three million francs
A time close to Valéry Giscard d’Estaing when he was Minister of Finance, Charles Aznavour had been surprised at the scale of this affair, which took place when his acquaintance had become the tenant of the Élysée. Bad luck: Giscard d’Estaing had just set up the exchange control. “He started from the principle that we would encourage industrialists who practiced exporting”, explains Gérard Davoust in his book. This legal episode marked the artist of Armenian origin all his life. And even wrote a poem about it, published in the press. “For having served my country and my culture, three million and one year in prison”he wrote then, bitter.
Gérard Davoust also relates that on stage, Charles Aznavour told his audience for a while an anecdote about his tax return. He explained to them that he mentioned 280 tissues per year, much to the astonishment of the tax authorities. The artist then justified himself by saying that, during his concerts, the piece Bohemian required the use of a handkerchief, embroidered with his name. “He wanted to deduct the amount in professional fees because they had a certain cost”, specifies the production of the singer in his work. The tax inspector had then suggested to the virtuoso to replace his handkerchiefs with Kleenex, which had angered Charles Aznavour.
Photo credits: AGENCY / BESTIMAGE
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“I’m leaving!” : this daring declaration of Charles Aznavour when he had trouble with the taxman – Gala
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