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Friday January 4, 2013

MOSCOW -- 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 (euro) 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 (euro) 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."

A representative for the former Oscar nominee declined to say whether he had accepted the Russian offer and refused all comment.

Depardieu said in his letter to Ayrault that he would surrender his passport and French social security card.

Depardieu, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Cyrano de Bergerac in the 1990 film by the same name, 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.


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