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Isabelle Adjani misses start of tax evasion trial after suffering ‘acute illness’

‘Possession’ star is one of France’s most decorated actors

Louis Chilton
Friday 20 October 2023 16:53 BST
Related video: Trailer for 'Wingwomen' starring Isabelle Adjani

French actor Isabelle Adjani was absent for the start of her tax evasion trial after her lawyers claimed she had suffered an “acute illness”.

Adjani, 68, is best known to English-speaking audiences for her role in the cult 1981 horror classic Possession, and for her six-year relationship with the actor Daniel Day-Lewis, with whom she shares a child.

She is facing charges of tax evasion in French court. Adjani’s lawyers requested an adjournment of the procedings after the actor’s illness was said to have prohibited her from leaving New York.

The charges against her concern a €2m gift that Adjani is alleged to have claimed was a loan to avoid paying the 60 per cent tax rate.

She is also alleged to have fraudulently listed her home in Portugal as her primary residence, while tax inspectors argue that her main residence is back in France. Adjani is said to have avoided €236,000 in tax as a result.

Adjani has denied all allegations against her.

Writing in the French publication L’Obs, Adjani claimed that she did not share American actors’ fascination with money, and argued that she had to accept the loan in 2013 because of an “imposssible” financial situation.

“I was in a financial situation made impossible because of the disastrous and dishonest management of my [production] company, Isia Films, and the abuse I suffered in ... my private life,” she wrote.

The money was given to her by Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye, a prominent public figure who serves as head of the Senegalese Olympic Committee. Ndiaye is also the godfather of Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis, the now-adult child of Adjani and Day-Lewis.

In the letter to L’Obs, Adjani also stated that her primary residence was a “small unexceptional building” near Lisbon. “I am not the owner of a manor house with a spa, but I rent a flat with a car parking space that I have turned into a studio where my whole life is stored,” she wrote.

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Adjani is also known for films such as Camille Claudel and La Reine Margot and is a five-time recipient of a César Award, the prestigious prize often described as France’s equivalent to an Oscar. At the peak of her fame, she was said to be one of the world’s highest-paid actors.

“I have often also agreed to a low revenue for social projects that interested me,” Adjani wrote. “I have never lived to accumulate assets. I don’t possess any, and not an art collection either. I am not an American-style artist whose success involves success in business. That is not the woman I am.”

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