Jan. 03 - Russian President Vladimir Putin grants citizenship to actor Gerard Depardieu, with the French star planning on quitting his homeland to avoid a tax hike on the rich. Matthew Stock reports.
French actor Gerard Depardieu has been granted Russian citizenship by President Vlamir Putin. The 63-year-old actor is embroiled in a bitter tax row with France's socialist government. They accuse Depardieu of being unpatriotic for threatening to hand back his French passport. The actor hit back, saying France is punishing success and talent. In Paris on Thursday, passers-by were broadly upset by the actors decision. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PASSER-BY JANINE SAYING: "I find it completely inappropriate. I don't understand how you can give a nationality to someone who used France to get rich." France is pushing ahead with plans to impose a 75-percent super tax on income over 1 million euros. Russia has a flat income tax rate of 13 percent. Depardieu is well-known in Russia, appearing in many advertising campaigns. Last year he also starred in a film about eccentric Russian monk Rasputin.