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Russia offers Russian citizenship to Gerard Depardieu

UPI News Service, 01/03/2013 

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has offered Russian citizenship to actor Gerard Depardieu, who is leaving France for tax reasons.

"In accordance with clause 'A' of article 89 of the Russian Constitution, the application for Russian citizenship by Gerard Xavier Depardieu born in France in 1948 has been granted," the Kremlin press office said in a statement to RIA Novosti.

Depardieu recently announced he was moving to Belgium to avoid France's 75 percent tax rate for incomes more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million).

The Wall Street Journal said Depardieu's spokesman didn't immediately respond to its request for comment regarding the film star's citizenship.

Putin's representative, Dmitry Peskov, told the Journal the actor had applied for citizenship and it was granted because of his "influence in the cultural realm" and his "significant role in films about Russian history and historical figures."

The actor is best known for his work in the films "Green Card," "1492" and "The Man in the Iron Mask." He plays a supporting role in the current release "Life of Pi."

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