Gerard Depardieu "now Russian citizen"

Orlando Parfitt
Yahoo UK Movies News

French actor Gerard Depardieu is now a Russian citizen according to a statement on the Kremlin’s website.

It reads: "Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to Gerard Depardieu."

Depardieu has not confirmed if he has taken up the offer.

Last month, Depardieu announced that he would give up his French passport, apparently to avoid paying France’s ‘wealth tax’ - a 75 per cent tax on incomes of more than 1m euros (£817,400) proposed by President French President Francois Hollande.

At one point it seemed like he would move to Belgium, close to the French border, but his plans obviously changed. In December, President Vladimir Putin said Russian authorities would happily welcome the Gallic star into the country.

Russia currently has a flat 13 per cent personal income tax rate.

Depardieu is a familiar face in Russia, where he appears in an ad for Sovietsky Bank's credit card and recently starred in a Franco-Russian film about Rasputin.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault last month, Depardieu wrote: "I am leaving because you believe that success, creation, talent, anything different must be sanctioned”.

Depardieu is probably France’s most famous film star, with almost 200 acting credits, including ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’, ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ and ‘Jean de Florette’.

In August 2011 he made headlines when he was thrown off a Paris to Dublin flight after he stood up and urinated on the floor.