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Gerard Depardieu welcomes Russian passport

2013-01-04 17:01
Gerard Depardieu
France - French actor Gerard Depardieu, who has threatened to relocate outside France to protest a planned 75% income tax, said he had requested the Russian passport he was recently granted.

"Yes, I made this request and had the pleasure that it was accepted," he said in an open letter posted by Russian broadcaster Channel One on its website, late on Thursday.

"Russia is a great democracy not a country where a first minister calls a citizen pathetic," he said in the letter, which was posted in French and Russian and was widely reposted on French media sites.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday, granting Depardieu citizenship in Russia, which boasts a 13% flat-rate income tax.

'Peace and serenity'

The actor, who has starred in the Asterix and Obelix movies and Cyrano de Bergerac, has bought a property in a village of tax exiles in Belgium and told French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault that he would give up his French passport.

Depardieu, who was France's best-paid actor in 2008, was pilloried by the French media for announcing his move to Nechin, a village in southern Belgium, a kilometer from the French town of Roubaix.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called the actor's plans to emigrate "quite pathetic" on a television news programme in December.

Depardieu originally claimed he "wanted to leave Paris, the city, its sometimes noisy aspects, and find a little quiet, peace and serenity."

He also said that he paid 145 million euros in taxes over the last 45 years.
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