Russia grants citizenship to tax-weary Depardieu
Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who has been sparring with his native country over taxes, has been granted Russian citizenship.
A brief announcement on the Kremlin website said President Vladimir Putin signed the citizenship grant Thursday.
Depardieu is angered by 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 and refused to comment on the issue.
Depardieu has made more than 150 films, among them the 1991 comedy “Green Card” about 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 would turn over his passport and French Social-Security card.
Hollande wants to tax incomes of the ultra-rich at 75 percent to reduce the debt and deficit, and Depardieu’s subsequent decision to move to tax-friendly Belgium was slammed by Hollande’s government.
“I’m a true European, a citizen of the world,” Depardieu wrote in the letter.
The tax on millionaires was struck down by France’s highest court Dec. 29, but the government has promised to resubmit the law in a slightly different form soon.
Depardieu was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Cyrano de Bergerac in the 1990 film by the same name.
He’s 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.
France’s Civil Code says one must have another nationality in order to give up French citizenship because it is forbidden to be stateless. Thursday’s decision by the Kremlin appears to fulfill that requirement.