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Feb 6, 2013

Tax ethics of Beckham deal questioned

Controversy is growing in France over David Beckham's decision to donate his reported £170,000-a-week wages from his short contract with Paris Saint-Germain to a French children's charity.

The gesture has been dismissed by some French critics as tax avoidance, after claims Beckham's charitable offering was an attempt to avoid the strict French restrictions that hit high earners.

While the much-discussed 75% threshold for high earners in France has yet to be introduced as the country's government continue to haggle over the contentious plans, Beckham's decision to base his family in England and not claim residency in Paris appears to have put him at loggerheads within his temporary home.

Beckham will receive the French minimum wage of €2,200 a month during his brief stint with PSG, with the rest of his salary going to charity and therefore becoming non-taxable.

MP Gerald Darmanin said: "I'd rather get 50 per cent of a lot than 75 per cent of nothing," he said. "He will be paid less than my parliamentary assistant!"

However, socialist MP Jerome Guedj said: "Me, I see a symbol. He will create wealth around PSG, image rights, jerseys sold by PSG. This is proof that the tax system in France does not leak."

Reports have this week emerged in France claiming Beckham has agreed a deal that will secure him a 20% cut of every shirt sold with his name on it from the PSG shop and that the club are providing him with a private chauffer and footing his hotel bill.

Beckham has yet to make his debut for PSG as boss Carlo Ancelotti has suggested that the former England captain will need at least two weeks to get himself match sharp to play in his starting line-up.

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