Depardieu greets voters with then-Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar.
"I know that a lot of people were angry that I got paid. I understood that. A guy makes mistakes. But it's over now. I didn't know Mečiar at all, and Jacques Attali told me that he was absolutely friendly. Anyway, he wasn't elected, and if he had been a dictator, he would have done something [about it], so he must have been a democrat."
Famous French actor Gérard Depardieu in an interview for the French daily paper Le Parisien on February 2. Before Slovak parliamentary elections in September, Depardieu paid a visit to Slovakia and appeared at political rallies in support of then-Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar (see picture). The visit, which was arranged with the help of Jacques Attali, a former advisor to French President Francois Mitterand and former head of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), provoked an outcry in Slovakia against the interference of foreign show-biz stars in Slovak domestic affairs. Depardieu was subsequently stripped of his Légion d'honneur award in consequence.