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Inga Verbeeck

Why matchmakers for Paris’s rich may desert the city of love

The Telegraph April 21th, 2013

President Francois Hollande’s tax plans do not add up when it comes to romance, writes Anne-Elisabeth Moutet

Ms Verbeeck is seriously considering closing down her French operation as her clientele is deserting Paris in droves Photo: Rii Schroer for the Telegraph

To borrow from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man -or woman -in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a partner. Less than a year ago, Inga Verbeeck opened the Paris office of the London based Berkeley International, with the aim of offering French (and France-based) high flyers the services of its “specialist international introduction agency” – in other words a dating agency for successful people too busy to look for love in the newly globalised world.

But now the elegant Ms Verbeck, a former steel trading company CEO, is seriously considering closing down her French operation: her clientele is deserting Paris in droves.

“The climate has changed,” she said. “Almost every day, a finger is pointed at the well off and at entrepreneurs.”

Quite simply, Fran9ois Hollande’s supertaxing Socialist government is scaring away precisely those high net worth individuals who have no qualms about paying her €10,000 minimum fee (rising to €50,000 annually in the case of very specific searches).

Inga - Hecate - 20100625

The supertax itself, supposedly levied on any annual salary above €1 million, has been stricken from a proposed bill by France’s Constitutional Council. After toying with the idea oflowering it to 66 per cent, Mr Hollande recently announced it would remain set at 75 per cent, but be paid by employers, not the executives themselves.

“It’s not just the amount of new taxes on individuals and businesses, it’s the constant flip­ flopping that makes it impossible to plan for your own future as well as for business development,” said “Jack”, one of Ms Verbeeck’s Paris-based clients, who asks for his full name not be revealed

Jack is a divorced Briton working for a large French multinational, and is now looking to relocate to London after 20 years in Paris.

By Anne-Elisabeth Moutet
7:00AM BST 21 Apr 2013