Putin gives Russian citizenship to actor Depardieu
French actor Gerard Depardieu, who had threatened to give up his French passport because of high taxes, has received Russian citizenship
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree giving Russian citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu, who had recently threatened to renounce French citizenship because of a government decision to increase taxes on the rich, French media reported, quoting a Kremlin press statement.
The 63 year-old actor, known for his role in "Cyrano de Bergerac" and many other films, has been a vocal protester against French President Francois Hollande's plans to impose a 75% tax on those earning over 1 million euros ($1.3 million).
Last month, Depardieu said that he could count on 3 countries Belgium, Montenegro and Russia to give him citizenship, according to French newspaper Le Monde.
"Putin has already sent me a passport," the paper quoted Depardieu as saying in mid-December, to which a spokesman for the Russian president had said he had no knowledge of the issue.
On December 20 Putin said, in a news conference: "If Gerard really wants a Russian residence permit or a passport, this would be sorted in a positive manner. We have friendly relations but I know he feels French."
Russia has a flat tax rate of 13%.
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Last month, the French Constitutional Council blocked the plans to impose the 75% tax rate on the rich, but Hollande plans to reintroduce the legislation after it is re-drafted.
Analysts have warned that France needs to reduce spending and boost fiscal revenues to avoid being engulfed by the eurozone debt crisis which has spread to countries like Spain and Italy.