French actor Gerard Depardieu has been granted Russian citizenship after becoming involved in a dispute with his own government over a planned tax on the rich.
The actor recently announced plans to leave France saying he was planning on moving to Belgium.
However the Kremlin issued a brief statement today saying "Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to France’s Gerard Depardieu." The Hollywood Reporter says it is not yet clear if the actor intends on taking up the offer of citizenship.
Depardieu had recently threatened to hand in his French passport over plans to put a tax of 75% on income over €1 million. The move was supported by French President Francois Hollande.
His plan to move to a Belgian village within walking distance of the French border was criticised by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who called him "pathetic".
Depardieu had said that at least three countries had offered him citizenship including Russia. This was initially denied by the Kremlin but at a press conference on December 20th, Vladimir Putin said "If Gerard wants to have a residence permit or a passport, it’s a done deal."