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Kremlin Grants France's Depardieu Russian Citizenship

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with French actor Gerard Depardieu at the State Museum in St. Petersburg in December 2010.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu.

Although Depardieu is not known to have asked for a Russian passport, Putin said last month his country was ready to welcome the 63-year-old celebrity, who is embroiled in a bitter tax dispute with France's government.

The French daily "Le Monde" has reported that Depardieu told his friends he was considering moving to Belgium, where he owns a home, relocating to Montenegro, where he has a business, or fleeing to Russia to escape France's new tax regime.

France's Socialist President Francois Hollande plans to impose a 75 percent tax on income over 1 million euros ($1.3 million).

Russia has a flat income-tax rate of 13 percent.

Based on reporting by Interfax, ITAR-TASS, and Reuters