Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who has waged a battle against a proposed super-tax on millionaires in his native country, has been granted Russian citizenship. A brief announcement on the Kremlin website revealed that President Vladimir Putin signed the citizenship grant on Thursday.
A representative for the former Oscar nominee declined to say whether he had accepted the offer and refused all comment. Thursday was a holiday in Russia and officials from the Federal Tax Service and Federal Migration Service could not be reached for comment on whether the decision would require Depardieu to have a residence in Russia.
Depardieu has been vocal in his opposition to French President Francois Hollande’s plans to raise the tax on earned income above (euro) 1 million ($1.33 million) to 75% from the current high of 41%. In contrast to the proposed top French rate, Russia has a flat 13% tax on income.
“I have never killed anyone, I don’t think I’ve been unworthy, I’ve paid 145 million euros in taxes over 45 years,’’ Depardieu wrote in an open letter to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who then called the actor “pathetic”.