Gerard Depardieu’s high profile tax row has now led to a passport offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the actor has already left his native France in protest over a tax increases under President Francois Hollande’s government. A 75 percent tax for French citizens earning over one million euros a year and increased tax on inherited assets were the final straws for Depardieu.
After France’s Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Depardieu “pathetic” for leaving the country, Depardieu wrote an open letter to Ayrault in Le Journal du Dimanche renouncing his French citizenship.
“I don’t ask to be approved, but I could at least be respected. All those who have left France have not been insulted as I have been,” Depardieu raged. Adding,”who are you to judge me in this way?”
“I give you back my passport and my social security that I have never used. We no longer have the same country, I am a real European, a citizen of the world, as my father always taught me.”
After Depardieu’s declaration, many thought he would decamp to Belgium since he recently bought a home there. But a subsequent joke made by the 63-year-old to French newspaper Le Monde that “Putin has already sent me a passport!,” seems to have resulted in exactly that.
Although, at the time, The Guardian noted that Putin’s press secretary released a statement saying that Depardieu “was probably joking,” it seems President Putin wasn’t.
France 24 reports that at his first major news conference since returing to office after elections in March, Putin said:
“If Gerard really wants to have a residency permit in Russia or a Russian passport, we can consider this issue resolved positively.”
However, the Russian president also said:
“I understand the feelings of Gerard Depardieu, but even though he said … that he considers himself a European, a citizen of world, I know for a fact, since we have a very friendly, personal relationship, that he considers himself a Frenchman. He loves his country very much, I am sure he is going through tough times.”
So far, speculation about Depardieu’s next country of residence has run from Belgium to Russia. So where will the seemingly much desired French exile end up? Surely it’s time for a Green Card invite?