David Beckham is at the centre of a political furore in France because of his minimum wage deal at new club Paris St Germain which will see him pay virtually no tax.
The 37-year-old revealed his entire salary - believed to be around £3.4 million - will go to a children's charity in Paris.
But the arrangement means he avoids the controversial 75 per cent tax which President Francois Hollande's government is currently bringing in.
Under French law he must take home the footballer's union minimum wage so the club can pay national insurance and other charges to the government - but this works out at less than £2,000 a week.
The deal means Beckham avoids paying not only the top rate on income tax, but also a three per cent surtax on annual income above £450,000.
With Victoria Beckham and the children remaining in London, Beckham can also claim his main residence is in the UK not France.
The other crucial element of the deal is limiting the contract to five months - anyone living in France for six months or more during a calendar year could be subject to the high band of income tax.
‘He will be paid less than my parliamentary assistant!’ said conservative MP Gerald Darmanin, claiming the Beckham case was another example of why the rich and famous do not want to settle in France.
Mr Darmanin added: ‘Be serious! It’s necessary to convince the Sports Minister to stop this deadly tax process. I’d rather receive 50 per cent of a lot than 75 per cent of nothing!’
Hollywood actor Gerard Depardieu and Louis Vuitton billionaire Bernard Arnault are among a list of high-profile citizens who are reportedly leaving Paris because of the new tax.
But Jerome Guedj, a Socialist MP, insisted that France would benefit in the long run from Beckham being in Paris.
‘Me, I see a symbol,' he said. 'He will create wealth around PSG, image rights, jerseys sold by PSG. This is proof that the tax system in France does not leak.’
Both Beckham and PSG will be able to make money from the ex-England captain’s image rights and other commercial activities.
His share of merchandising rights is likely to be paid into one of the three London-based companies. Footwork Productions, which exploits Beckham’s name and image, including work for Armani, Adidas, Samsung and Diet Coke, paid him nearly £86million in salary and dividends from 2002 to 2010.
PSG is already promoting David Beckham shirts on the club’s website, with an adult top featuring his name and number costing almost £100.
L’Equipe, the biggest sports paper in the country, has already suggested that ‘football’s glamour icon’ was little more than a money-spinning fairground attraction.
It carried a cartoon of the ‘S’ in PSG turned into a dollar sign last week, and wrote: ‘With the signature of the Spice Boy David Beckham yesterday, PSG pulled off a sensational publicity stunt. The sporting interest of the move is less clear.’
Others were even more cruel – with Le Figaro newspaper branding Beckham a ‘third-hand Rolls Royce’.
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