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Even French criminals can't escape... the taxman

Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 | 10:19 AM ET
Jesus Gonzalez | Flickr | Getty Images

An imprisoned drug dealer faced further bad news when he was asked to pay income taxes on his illicit activities,while still in jail.

According to Le Monde newspaper, Farid, whose surname was not given, was contacted by the French office for public finances two weeks before his release date, and told to "immediately" pay 23,933 euros($31,900) in income tax and 15,227 euros ($20,300) in social security. The 37-year-old had been sentenced to three years in jail for drug trafficking in April 2011.

(Watch: How legalizing cannabis could boost the economy)

Farid was told his tax bill was calculated on the basis of the drugs, money and possessions which were seized from him when he was arrested. These included 305 grams of cannabis resin, hidden in a cigar box,and 60,700 euros in cash. On top of that, money was taken from his bank accounts and his car and scooter were also seized.

Farid, who said drug dealing was a "stopgap solution, not a real job", was under the impression that income stemming from crime was not taxable. However, he was quickly informed of a 2009 French law stating that "nothing prevents the taxation of incomes stemming from undeclared, and illicit profitable activities, such as narcotic trafficking". Farid then found himself unable to pay his taxes and quickly gathered debts of 43,131 euros, despite being allowed to spread out repayments.

(Read more: French government's next tax grab may strain fragile recovery)

But Farid's pains were far from over, as his minimum-wage waiter's salary was then seized this July, because of an administrative mistake.

The French section of the International Observatory of Prisons said the taxation demands placed on Farid were "astronomical", and were hindering his rehabilitation, a complaint echoed by Farid's social worker.

(Read more: Organized crime: World's most lucrative criminal activities)

To read the full Le Monde article, click here.

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