Gerard Depardieu Now A Russian Citizen
French actor’s Gerard Depardieu’s tax dispute with his native France have taken an odd turn:
MOSCOW (AP) — 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.
The former Oscar nominee and star of the movie “Green Card” has been vocal in his opposition to French President Francois Hollande’s plans to raise the tax on earned income above €1 million ($1.33 million) to 75 percent from the current high of 41 percent.
“I have never killed anyone, I don’t think I’ve been unworthy, I’ve paid €145 million in taxes over 45 years,” Depardieu wrote in an open letter in mid-December to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who had called the actor “pathetic.”
“I will neither complain nor brag, but I refuse to be called ‘pathetic,” Depardieu wrote in his response.
A representative for the former Oscar nominee declined to say whether he had accepted the Russian 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 said in his letter to Ayrault that he would surrender his passport and French social security card. In October, the mayor of a small Belgian border town announced that Depardieu had bought a house and set up legal residence there, a move that was slammed by the newly-elected Socialist government.
Though the two-year tax was struck down by France’s highest court Dec. 29, the government has promised to resubmit the law in a slightly different form soon. On Wednesday it estimated that the court decision to overturn the tax would cost it €210 million in 2013.
France’s debt burden is around 90 percent of national income — not far off levels that have caused problems elsewhere in the 17-country eurozone. In contrast to the proposed top French rate, Russia has a flat 13 percent tax on income.
One wonders what Russian sounds like with a French accent.