Gerard Depardieu 'pleased' to become Russian citizen

 
Film still of Gerard Depardieu as Grigory Rasputin Gerard Depardieu played eccentric Russian monk Grigory Rasputin in a Franco-Russian film in 2011

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Actor Gerard Depardieu has hailed Russia's decision to grant him citizenship, following a tax row with the government in his native France.

In an open letter, he said he loved Russia, calling it "a great democracy".

Mr Depardieu had recently announced he would give up his French passport after the government criticised his decision to move abroad to avoid higher taxes.

Moscow earlier said President Vladimir Putin had personally signed the decree granting the actor Russian citizenship.

In December, Mr Putin had said he would be happy to welcome the actor in his new country. "If he'd like to have a Russian passport, consider it settled," Mr Putin said.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault had called Mr Depardieu's decision to leave the country "shabby".

In the letter, broadcast on Thursday on Russian TV station Pervyi Kanal, Mr Depardieu said: "I filed a passport application and I am pleased that it was accepted.

"I love your country, Russia - its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence."

He said that he had spoken to French President Francois Hollande and told him Russia was "a great democracy, and not a country where the prime minister calls one of its citizens shabby".

'Friend of Putin'

Under France's civil code, dual citizenship is permitted but it is unlawful to be stateless.

A person must obtain another nationality before giving up French citizenship.

Mr Depardieu's highly publicised tax row began last year after Mr Hollande said he would raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1m euros (£817,400).

The actor accused the new socialist government of punishing "success, creation and talent", and announced in early December that he would move to Belgium.

Moscow residents on Depardieu becoming a Russian citizen

Although the Constitutional Council struck down the tax rise proposal on Sunday, Mr Depardieu said this did not change the situation "one bit".

The BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris says the series of events would be amusingly eccentric, were it not also serious in its implications for France's international image.

Mr Depardieu, described by Mr Putin as a successful businessman and friend, has developed close ties with Russia, which has a flat 13% personal income tax rate.

He currently appears in an advertisement for Sovietsky Bank's credit card and is prominently featured on the bank's home page.

In 2011, he played the lead role in the film Rasputin, a Franco-Russian production about the life of eccentric monk Grigory Rasputin.

In addition, Mr Depardieu has also helped raise funds for a children's hospital in St Petersburg.

 

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  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 447.

    Don't blame the man. I'd move at a much lower percentage. Not happy with what the 20% I'm having stolen is being wasted on atm, so 75% would probably kill me.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 446.

    "It shows the mature sensibilities of the democratic Russian government"
    ++++++




    And when, pray,w as such a government elected?

    Last time I've checked KGB gen. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has been Russia's leader for life!

    [and you could lose yours if you questioned it]

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 445.

    #433 cont.. why is it we don't hold the govt spending to scrutiny. Let's demand an audit, to see where they waste OUR taxes. Blind Freddy could sort it out - dodgy bureaucrats and sleazy politicians in cahoots with the banks. Hello! Half of them should be in gaol and the other half very nervous. The "big govt big corporate" cabal must go! Peace.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 444.

    "396.Dave
    an ISA is not avoiding tax as none was liable"

    Rubbish. You could save in an ordinary account. Your choice of account avoids tax

    No UK tax is due if a husband transfers assets to a wife and she lives abroad and recevies dividends

    No UK tax is due on profits made from UK sales by a Luxemberg company

    So you won't be accusing Philip Green or Amazon of tax avoidance?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 443.

    #432 AndyC555

    You're restrained by the current system, and as such so are your examples. I don't believe any one individual should be in receipt of £1.5 million for simply being a good salesman any more than I think people are motivated by cash alone.

    You seem to think people deserve money who make money. I disagree - the value of an individual's work has far more important measures.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 442.

    "Given the chance, I think quite a large proportion would do the same, in any country."

    Not true. I would rather stay in my own country with my family and friends. Money isn't everything.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 441.

    405.AndyC555
    "It's much more likely that it's you that's making no real net contribution. Those wealthy that you despise are the ones subsidising you.l"

    I pay all the tax i "Should pay", i get NO expences, nothing, I do not get ANY benefits at ALL, yet i still cannot afford a pension or savings,
    As i have already said the rich have not been paying enough tax since Thatcher.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 440.

    Just to throw an alternative viewpoint in:
    No human being deserves to earn more than, say, £1 million per year when such abject poverty abounds throughout the 'developed world'.
    How about a low tax rate (20-30%), for earnings under £1 million per year and 100% on anything over £1 million?
    What? Can't put food on the table, a roof over your head, heat and power your home for £700k a year? Sure.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 439.

    As an aside, can anyone imagine how fantastic it would be to have a simple 13% flat tax rate?

    No wonder Russia has gone from strength to strength, whilst we sink yet further. How I would dearly love to have fully seven-eighths of every hard-earned pound in my own pocket, for me to spend on what I wished - instead of being bled dry.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 438.

    In reality how much money will the French government actually make from this ridiculous tax plan? All it does is divert attention from the real reasons that Europe is in such a mess!What about the absurd subsides that they give the farmers and the fisherman to empty the seas,the whole system is a joke and out of control and run by unelected bafoons.....

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 437.

    I can understand why Gerard Depardieu would want to leave. That hike in taxes is totally disproportionate. There must be other Frenchmen who are entrepreneurs and who bring jobs to France who must also be considering a move. People may not miss an 'overpaid' actor, butthey will miss the entrepreneurial talent.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 436.

    GD has paid 140 million euros in tax by all accounts. Still not enough for the lefties apparently. 75% is daylight robbery and I would leave the place too if I was earning that amount of money.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 435.

    Everything for free. Work less but get more benefits. Imagine if the rest of the world operated on the principle of "the less I put in the more I can take out". Stalin would be proud.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 434.

    370.vin
    I have no way of "avoiding" my tax.
    I am PAYE.
    ---------
    Being PAYE doesn't stop you avoiding tax - ask your employer about "salary sacrifice".

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 433.

    So many negative and uninformed comments. Let's apply some logic, not a knee jerk response mechanism. Firstly, to those who moan about GD's earnings being so cushy, then go be an actor, leave your dead-end job today. To those who say 50K is all anyone needs, how about thinking about the GOOD you could do with your surplus, like for instance, starting your own business! As for governments....cont

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 432.

    "416.DisgustedOfDeptford
    The amount they receive for what they actually do is inordinately high, and so should their tax be"

    On what basis? If someone earned your business £2m, would you begrudge paying them £1.5m? If you ran a shop making a decent profit why would I bother to keep it open all year if you started taking all the profits?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 431.

    @396.Dave

    "@376. Putting money in an ISA is not avoiding tax as none was liable in the first place. Clever tax avoidance schemes that channel earned income away for the tax man's gaze is what annoys people because earned income IS liable for tax."

    Pish and tosh.An ISA is avoiding tax. Full. Stop. The same as any other thing you do which causes you to pay less than the absolute maximum tax liable

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 430.

    A Russian citizen! Serves him right.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 429.

    Russia is hardly a model for anyone to follow!! Though I loved my time in Russia it has v serious problems. Corruption is rife. Whatever the tax rate they are worse taxpayers than Greece.

    It is a country with a small super rich and a vast population of poor / very poor. Some are in actual poverty (not the UK definition).

    Outside a few areas the services and infrastructure are terrible. Grim.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 428.

    If we could trust governments to use our money wisely maybe people wouldn't go to such lengths to avoid paying taxes.
    Also, if less money were wasted they wouldn't need to tax us so heavily.
    Well done GP if you have found a fairer tax system . . . . . .

 

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