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French actor Depardieu gets Russian passport

January 06, 2013

 French actor Gerard Depardieu, in a letter to France's Journal de Dimanche published on December 16, 2012, said that he is 'returning his passport' to the French government in a symbolic protest at recent criticism of his decision to join French tax exiles living in Belgium. -AFP Photo
French actor Gerard Depardieu, in a letter to France's Journal de Dimanche published on December 16, 2012, said that he is 'returning his passport' to the French government in a symbolic protest at recent criticism of his decision to join French tax exiles living in Belgium. -AFP Photo

MOSCOW: French actor Gerard Depardieu has received a Russian passport after flying to Russia for a late night dinner with President Vladimir Putin.

Depardieu sought Russian citizenship as part of his battle against a proposed super tax on millionaires in France, and Putin granted his request last week.

Russian television showed Putin embracing the actor as he arrived late Saturday at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The two men were then shown chatting over supper, discussing a soon-to-be-released film in which Depardieu plays Russian monk Grigory Rasputin.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed on Sunday that Depardieu was given his new Russian passport. French President Francois Hollande plans to raise the tax on earned income above (euro) 1 million ($1.3 million) to 75 percent from the current 41 percent, while Russia has a flat 13-per cent tax rate.