Vladimir Putin grants Russian citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 04, 2013 10:30 hrs

French actor Gerard Depardieu has been granted Russian citizenship after a very public war with the leaders of his country over high taxes on the rich, it has been revealed.

According to a brief announcement on the Kremlin website, President Vladimir Putin had signed the citizenship grant, the Daily Mail reported.

Depardieu is furious at French president Francois Hollande's attempt to raise taxes on the mega-rich to 75 percent. Russia has a flat income tax of 13 percent.

A representative for Depardieu declined to say whether he had accepted the offer, which, although genuine, is widely seen as a Russian swipe at France rather than a genuine act of concern for the multi-millionaire actor's finances.

Depardieu has made more than 150 films, including 1991 comedy 'Green Card', which is the story of a man who enters into a marriage of convenience in order to get U.S. residency.

Depardieu said in an open letter published in mid-December that he had been 'insulted' by France's Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, and planned to turn over his passport and French social security card.

Ayrault called him pathetic for wanting to leave France for tax-friendly Belgium to avoid the new top rate.

Depardieu is well known in Russia, where he appears in an ad for Sovietsky Bank's credit card and is prominently featured on the bank's home page.

According to France's Civil Code, one must have another nationality in order to give up French citizenship because it is forbidden to be stateless and the latest decision by the Kremlin would appear to fulfil that requirement. (ANI)

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