January 03, 2013

Depardieu off piste again?

Or should that be piste off?  Whatever.  According to this Guardian article Gérard Depardieu has been granted Russian citizenship by Russia's first citizen, Vladimir Putin:
Gérard 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 the president, Vladimir Putin, signed the citizenship grant on Thursday.
Depardieu is angered by François Hollande's attempt to raise taxes on the mega-rich to 75%. Russia has a flat income tax of 13%.
A representative for Depardieu declined to say whether he had accepted the offer and refused all comment.
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 US residency.
Depardieu said in an open letter published in mid-December that he would turn over his passport and French social security card.
His 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 last month but the government has promised to resubmit the law in a slightly different form soon.
Depardieu is 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 a person 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 fulfil that requirement.
So Depardieu's not the only one who's piste off.  But what's in it for Putin or Russia?

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