independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Putin gives Gerard Depardieu Russian citizenships after French tax row

Gerard Depardieu, France's most famous actor

President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to Gerard Depardieu, the French movie star who quit his homeland to avoid a tax hike on the rich.

The "Cyrano de Bergerac" star moved across the border to Belgium last year to avoid the tax increase planned by Socialist President Francois Hollande and Putin said he would be welcome to Russia.

"If Gerard really wants to have either a residency permit in Russia or a Russian passport, we will assume that this matter is settled and settled positively," Putin told a news conference last month.

The Kremlin's website said today that Putin had signed a decree granting Depardieu citizenship. The wording of the statement suggested the 63-year-old actor had applied for it. An assistant to Depardieu declined to comment.

France's Constitutional Council last month blocked the planned 75pc tax rate on income over €1m - but Hollande plans to propose differently worded legislation which will "still ask more of those who have the most".

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