French drug dealer sent tax bill on estimated income
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A convicted French drug trafficker has been sent an €80,000 tax bill based on his estimated earnings through dealing heroin, including allowances for travel costs. He has been classified as a "self-employed freelancer", his lawyer said.
An imprisoned French drug dealer has been told to pay €80,000 in taxes on money he earned from selling heroin, his lawyer has said.
The bill is based on the man’s estimated earnings through heroin deals between 2008 and 2011 and even takes into account deductions for transport costs.
“They addressed my client as a micro-entrepreneur [self-employed freelancer],” lawyer Samira Boudiba told AFP on Monday. “They are levying on his drug trafficking since 2008 based on estimated turnover."
“It is quite extraordinary,” she added. “How can you tax a business that’s completely illegal?”
In the letter sent to the man, who was convicted of drug trafficking offences in March last year and is currently serving a four-year sentence in Nancy in eastern France, the French tax authorities outline a detailed estimate of his earnings.
They base their calculations on a price of €15 for a gram of heroin, while making allowances of the dealer’s personal use of his stash.
“Your personal consumption [of heroin] has been evaluated at four grams per day, and that quantity can be deducted [from the bill],” said the letter.
The man’s frequent trips from France to Namur, in Belgium, were also taken into consideration and listed as deductible business expenses.
“Basically, because he drove between Nancy and Namur, which is a 532-km round trip, they’ve very kindly given him a tax allowance of €496 for it,” said Boudiba, speaking to France’s Europe 1 radio on Tuesday.
The man, in his forties, has already had €40,000 in cash seized by the authorities, the lawyer explained.
“He is being punished twice!” said Boudiba, who is planning on taking the case to France’s constitutional court.
However, it is not the first example of the French taxman looking to claim a share of drug dealers’ ill-gotten gains.
In August this year, French daily Le Monde reported that a former drug dealer named Farid was asked to pay €23,933 in taxes and another €15,227 in social security to the French state upon his release from prison after a 20-month sentence.
The sum was calculated based on the €60,700 found by police in Farid’s apartment and earned through selling cannabis.