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Gerard Depardieu is to play Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in a new movie, according to reports.

The French actor will star in the project, translated as Stalin’s Sofa, which will be directed by actress Fanny Ardant, said The Hollywood Reporter.

The movie is based on French author Jean-Daniel Baltassat’s 2013 novel.

Gerard Depardieu was presented with a Russian passport by Vladimir Putin in 2013 after moving to avoid higher taxes in his native France.Gerard Depardieu to play Joseph Stalin

The actor’s move to Russia came after he criticized French President Francois Hollande’s plans to raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1 million euro.

Gerard Depardieu accused the government of punishing “success, creation and talent”.

In 2011, Gerard Depardieu played the lead role in Rasputin, a Franco-Russian production about the life of eccentric monk.

He also recently announced a movie about WW2 French fighter aces who flew alongside Red Air Force pilots over the Eastern Front.

Joseph Stalin, the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union for more than 25 years, helped the allies defeat Nazism.

However, Joseph Stalin’s regime of terror caused the death and suffering of tens of millions.

The new movie, to be produced by French/Portuguese company Leopardo Filmes, is to be set in the 1950s Soviet Union and will center on a young artist commissioned to create Joseph Stalin’s monument.

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United Passions, a vanity film about the history of soccer’s governing body FIFA, has flopped in the US, taking just $607 in its opening weekend.

The movie was funded by about $25 million of FIFA cash, and was completed before corruption charges were made against 14 of its officials at the end of last month.

Starring Tim Roth as Sepp Blatter, the hagiography of FIFA has had damning reviews.

The movie’s budget was estimated at between $25 – $32 million, with FIFA said to have put up about three-quarters of the money.FIFA movie United Passions

United Passions debuted in the States on June 5, on just 10 screens.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the FilmBar cinema in Phoenix reported takings of just $9, meaning only one person bought a ticket.

The movie’s release came as FIFA faces an investigation into allegations of corruption during the bidding process to host the 2010 World Cup.

The DoJ has indicted a total of 14 current and former FIFA officials and associates on charges of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption following a major inquiry by the FBI.

President Sepp Blatter stood down last week, although he faces no charges himself.

United Passions purports to present the history of FIFA through three leaders, and co-stars Sam Neill as Sepp Blatter’s predecessor, Joao Havelange, and Gerard Depardieu, who plays FIFA founder Jules Rimet.

Gerard Depardieu was the only actor who attended the movie’s world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.

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Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is to sue director Abel Ferrara for defamation over Welcome to New York movie.

“My client finds the film’s accusations of rape intolerable,” DSK’s lawyer said.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was disgusted and frightened by Welcome to New York, which stars Gerard Depardieu in the lead role

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was disgusted and frightened by Welcome to New York, which stars Gerard Depardieu in the lead role

Welcome to New York, screened at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, is about a French banker who assaults a maid at a New York hotel.

DSK, 65, quit as head of the IMF in 2011 after facing similar allegations.

He was arrested in New York three years ago when a hotel maid at New York’s Sofitel accused him of trying to rape her.

The charges were eventually dropped, and DSK subsequently reached a settlement with the maid, Nafissatou Diallo.

DSK’s laywer, Jean Veil, said the former IMF boss would take legal action for “defamation over the accusations of rape and the insinuations made throughout the movie”.

He added that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was “disgusted and frightened” by the film, which stars Gerard Depardieu in the lead role.

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Welcome to New York movie starring Gerard Depardieu as a disgraced politician based on Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be shown for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival.

The controversial movie has been much-anticipated but will not be shown as part of the official festival program.

Instead, Welcome to New York will be shown at midnight on Friday at a private beach screening.

Welcome to New York tells of how a French politician is accused of attempted rape in a New York hotel room.

Welcome to New York movie starring Gerard Depardieu as a disgraced politician based on Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be shown for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival

Welcome to New York movie starring Gerard Depardieu as a disgraced politician based on Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be shown for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival

DSK quit his role as boss of the International Monetary Fund in 2011 after being accused of a sex attack on a maid in a Manhattan hotel. Once seen as a French presidential hopeful, Socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn also had to give up his political ambitions.

Charges were eventually dropped and DSK subsequently reached a settlement with the maid. Two other cases against him were also dismissed.

The two-hour film, in which Gerard Depardieu plays a character called Deveraux, was funded mostly in the US and the director Abel Ferrara is also American.

As such, the French-language production counts as being American.

Welcome to New York will be released in cinemas in countries outside France, but in France it is being made available, at least initially, on pay-to-view websites.

“We realized it was the perfect film to experiment with this type of release,” producer Vincent Maraval told Variety magazine.

“We’ll get to target the widest possible audiences at a faster pace, with a smaller investment… and preserve some kind of curiosity around the movie before the press starts unveiling what’s in it.”

In the same interview, Vincent Maraval also criticized the French political, TV and movie establishment, saying: “No French TV station wanted to finance us.

“Everyone warned us not to make this film, both our friends and our enemies.”

Vincent Maraval told Variety there was an “incestuous relationship” between the “media and political elites” in France, which made it impossible to make films about “current affairs”.

Gerard Depardieu put some of his own money into the film and took a low fee of 100,000 euros.

The politician’s wife is played by English actress Jacqueline Bisset.

Welcome to New York tells the story of how a French economics professor becomes a politician backed by his wife’s millions, rises to fame and prosperity only to be brought down by accusations of rape.

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Gerard Depardieu, who stirred up controversy by becoming a tax exile last year, has thrown a big housewarming barbecue in Belgium.

The 64-year-old actor invited some 200 people, including his new neighbors, to celebrate in the grounds of the five-bedroomed chateau he bought in Nechin in December.

Gerard Depardieu bought the property after France’s Socialist government proposed a 75% tax rate on high incomes.

The tax hike was later blocked by France’s highest court.

Since it was proposed last year, Gerard Depardieu has also taken on Russian citizenship, in a move much criticized in his home country.

Gerard Depardieu has thrown a big housewarming barbecue in Belgium

Gerard Depardieu has thrown a big housewarming barbecue in Belgium

Hailed as one of the finest actors of his generation for films that include Cyrano de Bergerac, Gerard Depardieu told reporters he was a “citizen of the world”.

“I have worked around the world but I settled in Nechin,” he said.

Saturday’s feast reportedly featured T-bone steaks and suckling pig.

Earlier in the day, Gerard Depardieu was made an honorary citizen of Estaimpuis municipality, which includes Nechin.

Daniel Senesael, the mayor of Estaimpuis, said: “When he came to set up house here, he always told me that he wanted to do something nice with the neighbors.

“He kept his word. He bought his house, the neighbors were invited… and so I think it’s great when you keep your promises… and you can mingle with Depardieu, what more do you want?”

Gerard Depardieu told France’s Figaro magazine on Friday that the tax controversy had been “a big misunderstanding” and that he loved France “as much as ever”.

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Gerard Depardieu plays Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a new film depicting the former International Monetary Fund chief as a s**-crazed playboy, haunting or**es and chasing young women – despite the objections of his wife.

A trailer, leaked online and posted by several websites, appears to be a film festival sales pitch controversial Welcome to NY movie starring Gerard Depardieu.

Gerard Depardieu plays a “Mr. Deveraux” – modeled after powerful French politician DSK, who was once a front-runner to become the president of France.

The trailer offers several scenes of Gerard Depardieu’s character engaging in or**es, having s** with prostitutes and seducing young women.

All the while his wife, played by Jaqueline Bisset, struggles to cope with her husband’s infidelities.

The trailer opens with director Abel Ferrara’s recreation of the alleged s** assault that brought down the mighty DSK and led to his arrest in May 2011.

A woman behind a closed door screams and struggles, shouting: “No! No!”

DSK was dramatically taken off a plane and handcuffed after a maid at the upscale Sofitel New York Hotel accused him forcing her to give him o**l s**.

The charges were later dropped due to inconsistencies in the maid’s story to police, but the incident led to other accusations about DSK s****l predilections that sank his political career.

The film remains controversial because the s** assault charges were never proven and prosecutors determined that they did not have enough evidence to prosecute him.

That didn’t stop Abel Ferrara from imaging his own scenario for the incident at the hotel. The final scene of the trailer shows Gerard Depardieu’s character wrapped in a bath towel, fresh out of the shower, when the maid approaches.

The maid looks intimidated as the man asks: “Do you know who I am?”

In an interview with Swiss Television RTS last year, Gerard Depardieu revealed he agreed to play the part because he found his fellow countryman “arrogant and smug”, adding: “He is very French. I will do it, because I don’t like him.”

Gerard Depardieu, 64, will be joined on screen by Nip/Truck actress Jacqueline Bisset, 68, who will play DSK’s ex-wife, the French TV reporter Anne Sinclair.

Gerard Depardieu plays DSK in new film Welcome to New-York depicting the former IMF chief

Gerard Depardieu plays DSK in new film Welcome to New-York depicting the former IMF chief

And last month, the actors got caught in controlled chaos as they re-enacted the media storm surrounding the s****l assault trial, that ultimately collapsed in August 2011.

The scene depicted the media frenzy surrounding the case that was sparked when an immigrant hotel maid accused the then-IMF chief of s****l assault after she entered his suite to clean it.

It was filmed outside the same 6,800-square-foot, $50,000-a-month Tribeca townhouse that DSK stayed in while under house arrest as the case unfolded.

But the trial collapsed in August 2011 when prosecutors deemed the evidence of his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, to be unreliable. She later filed a civil lawsuit.

The film is being directed by American Abel Ferrara, whose credits include Bad Lieutenant, which starred Billy-Bob Thornton in 1992 and 1996 crime thriller The Funeral, fronted by Christopher Walken.

Announcing his latest venture last year, Abel Ferrara said it would be set in New York, Paris and Washington, adding: “[It will be set] in all spots of power in fact: it’s a film about rich and powerful people.”

Gerard Depardieu himself is no stranger to the courts.

Earlier this month, Gerard Depardieu missed a hearing in Paris over an alleged drunken scooter incident.

Gerard Depardieu, who also failed to attend court for the last hearing in January, was more than three times over the drink-drive limit when he came off his moped near the Champs-Elysees in Paris last November.

He had been due to attend a “correctional tribunal” in Paris to face a charge of drink-driving, but he did not turn up because he was filming his new role as Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York.

A judge said the case would go ahead in Gerard Depardieu’s absence, and the Oscar-nominated star of Green Card and Cyrano de Bergerac risked being sentenced to a maximum of two years behind bars and a 4,500 euro fine.

Two years ago, Gerard Depardieu was also arrested for smashing up a car parked outside a swingers’ club near his Paris home.

And he was involved in a separate scandal in France in 2011 when he urinated in the aisle of a plane in full view of disgusted passengers.

Gerard Depardieu also courted controversy in his native France this year after moving to Belgium and taking Russian citizenship to avoid a new 75% tax rate.

When Gerard Depardieu announced his plans to move abroad to avoid paying high tax rates, he was branded “shabby and unpatriotic” by PM Jean-Marc Ayrault.

But the defiant screen legend retaliated by declaring he would also hand back his French passport, and wrote an angry open letter to the French government, saying: “All those who have left France have not been insulted as I have been.”

He then told French president Francois Hollande in a personal phone call that he was “sickened at how France spits on success”.

Gerard Depardieu is one of the few French stars known throughout the world, and has made more than 100 films, many in English.

He also notorious in France for his battle with alcohol and his turbulent love life.

Over the past ten years Gerard Depardieu has devoted much of his time to producing wine at his Lys-de-Volan vineyard near Lyon.

 

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Gerard Depardieu has been formally registered as a permanent resident of the central Russian town of Saransk.

Gerard Depardieu, 64, sought Russian citizenship after the French government criticized his decision to move abroad to avoid higher taxes.

The French actor is now registered as living at No 1, Democracy Street in Saransk, in the region of Mordovia.

After the ceremony, Gerard Depardieu beamed and proclaimed a few words in Russian.

“Glory! Glory to Saransk, glory to Mordovia, glory to Russia!” he said.

Gerard Depardieu was quoted as telling Russian television that his registered new address, on Demokraticheskaya [Democratic] Street, was quite “symbolic”.

On Friday, after visiting Moscow’s famed Bolshoi Theatre and the Illuzion cinema, Gerard Depardieu said he was very familiar with Russian culture.

“I love it very much. I also know your composers. I can say that I was born with Russian culture.”

Gerard Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship by a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin on 3 January.

The central Russian region of Mordovia Gerard Depardieu will call home is known for its Stalin-era prison camps.

Gerard Depardieu has been formally registered as a permanent resident of the central Russian town of Saransk

Gerard Depardieu has been formally registered as a permanent resident of the central Russian town of Saransk

Gerard Depardieu’s highly publicized tax row began last year after French President Francois Hollande said he would raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1 million  euros ($1.3 million).

He accused the socialist government of punishing “success, creation and talent”, and announced in early December that he would move to Belgium.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded Gerard Depardieu’s decision to move abroad as “shabby and unpatriotic”.

Gerard Depardieu, described by President Vladimir Putin as a friend, has developed close ties with Russia, which has a flat 13% personal income tax rate.

He currently appears in an advertisement for Sovietsky Bank’s credit card and is prominently featured on the bank’s home page.

In 2011, Gerard Depardieu played the lead role in the film Rasputin, a Franco-Russian production about the life of eccentric monk Grigory Rasputin.

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Tax policy rarely makes headlines in France, but the row between Gerard Depardieu and the government has given the issue unusual prominence in recent weeks.

Gerard Depardieu’s opposition to plans for a new 75% rate of income tax prompted him to announce last month that he was leaving the country. When Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called the move “shabby”, the actor said he would tear up his French passport.

The row took a new twist last week, when Gerard Depardieu applied for Russian citizenship, professing his love for a “great democracy”. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave him his new passport in person at the weekend.

The very public row between a larger-than-life personality and the Socialist government has put the issue of tax exiles to the fore.

But over the years many sportsmen, entertainers and economic leaders have quietly chosen to leave France for a variety of reasons.

Switzerland – the adoptive homes of celebrities from the world over – appears to be the destination of choice for prominent French exiles.

Tax policy rarely makes headlines in France, but the row between Gerard Depardieu and the government has given the issue unusual prominence in recent weeks

Tax policy rarely makes headlines in France, but the row between Gerard Depardieu and the government has given the issue unusual prominence in recent weeks

Singer Charles Aznavour – who had public rows over taxes with French authorities in 1970s – has lived there for four decades.

Actor Alain Delon set up a luxury goods company in his name in Geneva in 1978 and acquired Swiss citizenship in 1999.

Singer Johnny Hallyday moved to the ski resort of Gstaad in 2006. Media reports suggest he is paying much less in tax in Switzerland than he would in France at the moment – let alone if he had to face a 75% rate over 1 million euros in earnings.

World rally champion Sebastien Loeb became a Swiss resident in 2003. Three years ago he gave the following reason for the move: “French taxes are huge and the career of a sportsman does not last forever.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France’s top male tennis player, has resided in Switzerland since 2008, although he has not cited lower taxes as a reason for his decision.

Other past and present French tennis stars who have become Swiss residents include Guy Forget, Amelie Mauresmo, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon, Fabrice Santoro, Gael Montfils, Cedric Pioline, Henri Leconte, and Marion Bartoli.

French-speaking southern Belgium is favored by some. Gerard Depardieu announced he was buying a house there last month. The Meunier family, which controls Carrefour, a supermarket chain, lives just across the border from France.

Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury goods group LVMH and France’s richest man, applied for Belgian citizenship in September – although he denied that this was for tax reasons, and said he would continue to pay taxes in France.

The actor Christian Clavier, Gerard Depardieu’s fellow star in the Asterix film franchise, moved to London last year. His agent described the move as temporary and not motivated by taxes.

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Gerard Depardieu is expected to appear before a French court today, charged with drink-driving.

Gerard Depardieu was arrested in November after a scooter accident in Paris, in which he was found to be three times over the alcohol limit.

Last month, the actor announced his decision to move to Belgium to avoid the French government’s plan for a top tax rate of 75%.

Gerard Depardieu became a Russian citizen at the weekend, receiving a Russian passport.

But on the eve of his scheduled court appearance he was in Switzerland, for the annual Ballon D’Or football award ceremony.

Gerard Depardieu has already pleaded guilty to the charge of drink-driving, which carries a maximum fine of 4,500 euros ($5,880) and a sentence of up to two years in prison, along with six penalty points.

On November 29, he lost control of his scooter in Paris and crashed. A breathalyser test showed he had a blood alcohol rate of 1.8g per litre, more than three times the French legal limit of 0.5g.

Gerard Depardieu, who owns several vineyards, once admitted to drinking up to six bottles of wine a day.

If the actor fails to appear before magistrates, his case could be referred to the criminal court, who tend to be less lenient.

Gerard Depardieu is expected to appear before a French court today, charged with drink-driving

Gerard Depardieu is expected to appear before a French court today, charged with drink-driving

Gerard Depardieu’s tax row with the French authorities began last year after President Francois Hollande said he would raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million).

The film star, renowned for his roles in Cyrano de Bergerac and more recently as Obelix, announced in early December that he would move to Belgium, accusing France’s Socialist government of punishing “success, creation and talent”.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded Gerard Depardieu’s decision to move abroad as “shabby and unpatriotic”.

The actor has developed close ties with Russia and during his visit at the weekend hugged President Vladimir Putin, who described him as a friend.

Russia has offered him a flat tax rate of 13% if he stays in the country for more than half the year. On his trip to Russia he travelled to the central region of Mordovia, which has invited him to make his home there.

Mordovia is best known for its Stalin-era gulag prison camps.

But the actor said on Monday he was not turning his back on his country.

“I have a Russian passport, but I remain French and I will probably have dual Belgian nationality,” Gerard Depardieu told French sports channel L’Equipe 21.

Under France’s civil code, dual citizenship is permitted but it is unlawful to be stateless. A person must obtain another nationality before giving up French citizenship.

Gerard Depardieu also rejected claims that his decision to move abroad was to avoid paying taxes.

“If I’d wanted to escape the taxman, as the French press say, I would have done it a long time ago.”

Gerard Depardieu made the remarks in Zurich where he was attending the Ballon d’Or ceremony in the company of FIFA boss Sepp Blatter.

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Gerard Depardieu has arrived in Russia, where he has been granted citizenship and a private meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

A Kremlin spokesman said Gerard Depardieu may receive his new Russian passport personally from the president.

The actor announced he was seeking Russian citizenship after the French government criticised his decision to move abroad to avoid higher taxes.

Last month Vladimir Putin had said he would be happy to welcome him to Russia.

President Vladimir Putin will hold a private meeting with the actor in the Black Sea resort of Sochi later on Saturday, his spokesman said.

Earlier this week President Vladimir Putin signed the decree granting Russian citizenship to Gerard Depardieu.

The actor responded by writing an open letter saying: “I love your country, Russia – its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence.”

Gerard Depardieu went on describe Russia as “a great democracy, and not a country where the prime minister calls one of its citizens shabby”.

Gerard Depardieu has arrived in Russia, where he has been granted citizenship and a private meeting with President Vladimir Putin

Gerard Depardieu has arrived in Russia, where he has been granted citizenship and a private meeting with President Vladimir Putin

Gerard Depardieu’s highly publicized tax row began last year after new President Francois Hollande said he would raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1 million euros.

The actor accused the socialist government of punishing “success, creation and talent”, and announced in early December that he would move to Belgium.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded his decision to move abroad as “shabby and unpatriotic”.

Gerard Depardieu, described by Vladimir Putin as a friend, has developed close ties with Russia, which has a flat 13% personal income tax rate.

He currently appears in an advertisement for Sovietsky Bank’s credit card and is prominently featured on the bank’s home page.

In 2011, Gerard Depardieu played the lead role in the film Rasputin, a Franco-Russian production about the life of eccentric monk Grigory Rasputin.

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Brigitte Bardot has threatened to apply for Russian citizenship unless France stops two sick zoo elephants from being put down.

The elephants, which suffer from tuberculosis, were due to be killed in December, but were granted a reprieve until after Christmas.

Brigitte Bardot said she would move abroad if the reprieve was not made permanent.

Fellow actor Gerard Depardieu obtained a Russian passport this week following a tax row with the French government.

Gerard Depardieu had earlier threatened to move to Belgium to avoid higher taxes.

After the government criticized his decision, he declared he would give up his French nationality.

Earlier this week, the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had personally signed a decree granting actor Gerard Depardieu Russian citizenship.

Vladimir Putin and Gerard Depardieu are said to be personal friends.

Brigitte Bardot has threatened to apply for Russian citizenship unless France stops two sick zoo elephants from being put down

Brigitte Bardot has threatened to apply for Russian citizenship unless France stops two sick zoo elephants from being put down

Brigitte Bardot, a prominent animal rights campaigner, warned she would follow Gerard Depardieu’s example if authorities failed to save the elephants, known as Baby and Nepal.

“If the powers that be have the cowardice and the shamelessness to kill Baby and Nepal… I have decided to apply for Russian citizenship and leave this country, which is nothing more than an animal cemetery,” Brigitte Bardot said in a statement posted on the website of her animal welfare charity.

The case of the sick elephants, in Lyon’s Tete d’Or zoo, has gripped the city since mid-December.

The authorities deemed Baby and Nepal a health threat to other zoo animals and visitors, and ordered them to be put down.

But a circus director who used to own the elephants launched a petition to save their lives.

Thousands signed the petition, gaining the animals a temporary reprieve.

Brigitte Bardot joined the campaign and wrote a letter to French President Francois Hollande earlier this week, asking him to intervene.

She posted Friday’s announcement after her plea failed to elicit a reply.

Brigitte Bardot has been making headlines in recent years for her controversial remarks about Islam and its followers.

In 2008, Brigitte Bardot was convicted for the fifth time for inciting racial hatred after complaining on her website that Muslims were “destroying our country by imposing their ways”.

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Gerard Depardieu has obtained Russian citizenship, according to a brief statement posted on the Kremlin website

Gerard Depardieu has obtained Russian citizenship, according to a brief statement posted on the Kremlin website

Gerard Depardieu has obtained Russian citizenship, according to a brief statement posted on the Kremlin website.

“Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to Gerard Depardieu,” the message read.

Gerard Depardieu recently announced he would give up his French passport after the government criticized his decision to move abroad to avoid higher taxes.

In December, Vladimir Putin said he would be happy to welcome the actor in Russia.

“I’m sure the French authorities did not want to offend Mr. Depardieu. But if he’d like to have a Russian passport, consider it settled,” Vladimir Putin said during his annual news conference on 20 December.

Under France’s civil code, dual citizenship is permitted but it is unlawful to be stateless.

A person must obtain another nationality before giving up French citizenship.

 

Gerard Depardieu has not yet commented on the Kremlin’s latest announcement.

His highly publicized tax row began last year after Socialist President Francois Hollande said he planned to raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1 million euros.

Lambasting the government for punishing “success, creation and talent”, Gerard Depardieu announced in early December that he would move to Belgium.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault retaliated by calling the decision “shabby”.

Although the Constitutional Council struck down Francois Hollande’s tax rise proposal on Sunday, Gerard Depardieu said this did not change the situation “one bit”.

The French actor, described by Vladimir Putin as a successful businessman and friend, has developed close ties with Russia, which has a flat 13% personal income tax rate.

He currently appears in an advertisement for Sovietsky Bank’s credit card and is prominently featured on the bank’s home page.

In 2011, Gerard Depardieu played the lead role in the film Rasputin, a Franco-Russian production about the life of eccentric monk Grigory Rasputin.

In addition, Gerard Depardieu has also helped raise funds for a children’s hospital in St Petersburg.

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France’s constitutional council has struck down a top income tax rate of 75% introduced by Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Raising taxes for those earning more than 1 million euros has been a flagship policy for Francois Hollande.

The policy angered France’s business community and prompted some wealthy citizens to say they would emigrate.

Francois Hollande’s government said it would rework the tax, due to take effect in 2013, to meet the council’s complaints.

In its ruling on Saturday, the Constitutional Council said the new tax rate “failed to recognize equality before public burdens” because, unlike other forms of income tax, it was to be applied to individuals rather than households.

For example, that meant a household in which one person earned more than 1 million euros would pay the tax, but a household in which two people earned 900,000 euros each would not have to pay.

France's constitutional council has struck down a top income tax rate of 75 percent introduced by Socialist President Francois Hollande

France’s constitutional council has struck down a top income tax rate of 75 percent introduced by Socialist President Francois Hollande

The council also rejected new methods for calculating the tax.

But Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the government would press ahead with the new tax rate.

“The government will propose a new system that conforms with the principles laid down by the decision of the Constitutional Council,” he said.

The new rate was seen as largely symbolic since it would have only applied to some 1,500 people for a temporary period of two years.

But along with other tax rises, it has still been the subject of fierce debate in France.

French actor Gerard Depardieu recently announced he was moving to Belgium to avoid taxes, sparking a furious reaction from some on the left.

There was also speculation that people employed in high-income jobs like banking and finance would move elsewhere, including to London.

Francoise Hollande campaigned against the austerity policies used in many European countries affected by economic crisis, favoring higher taxes rather than spending cuts to bring down the deficit.

The 75% rate for high earners was included in the government’s 2013 budget, approved by parliament in September.

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Catherine Deneuve has defended fellow movie star Gerard Depardieu over his move to Belgium.

In an open letter Catherine Deneuve voiced fury that another actor, Philippe Torreton, had attacked Gerard Depardieu for leaving France “with a load of dosh”.

Catherine Deneuve said “he [Gerard Depardieu] is a great actor and you’re just expressing your resentment”. She starred with Gerard Depardieu in several classic French films.

Gerard Depardieu has criticized the Socialist government for its new 75% wealth tax.

Next year, the top rate of income tax in France is due to become 75% on earnings above 1 million euros ($1.3 million). Belgium’s highest tax rate is currently 50%.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has condemned Gerard Depardieu’s decision as “shabby”.

Catherine Deneuve has defended fellow movie star Gerard Depardieu over his move to Belgium

Catherine Deneuve has defended fellow movie star Gerard Depardieu over his move to Belgium

In her letter, headlined “Monsieur Torreton…” in the left-wing daily Liberation, Catherine Deneuve accused Philippe Torreton of “pettiness”.

“To take aim at his physique! His talent! This <<mess>>you speak of – what right do you have, what democratic motive do you claim as grounds for your dirty condemnation?”

Gerard Depardieu, 63, announced earlier this month that he was moving just over the French border to the small Belgian town of Nechin.

Catherine Deneuve starred with him in some landmarks of French cinema, including The Last Metro and, more recently, the Franco-Belgian comedy, Potiche.

On Wednesday another star of French cinema, Brigitte Bardot, also defended Gerard Depardieu, saying he was the victim of “unfair vilification”.

“Even if he is a fan of bullfighting, that does not prevent him being an exceptional actor who represents France with a unique fame and popularity,” said Brigitte Bardot, a campaigner for animal rights.

On Thursday the row spread to Russia where President Vladimir Putin addressed the actor’s move abroad during his marathon annual news conference.

Vladimir Putin told a big live audience: “I’m sure the French authorities did not want to offend Mr. Depardieu. But if he’d like to have a Russian passport, consider it settled.”

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Gerard Depardieu was spotted stocking up on his favorite cheese before flying to Italy – sparking rumors that he has finally left France for good after publicly renouncing his citizenship.

Gerard Depardieu, 63, was wheeled out of Ciampino Airport in Rome after publicly slamming the introduction of a new top rate of tax in France in January 2013.

It is unclear whether the actor famous for his roles as Cyrano de Bergerac and Astérix the Gaul’s sidekick Obélix, is just on a short break in Rome or if he is on his way to Belgium, where it is rumored he will settle.

In an angry letter, published in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper, Gerard Depardieu said he had been “insulted” by France’s Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who called him pathetic for wanting to leave France for Belgium to avoid the new 75% top rate of tax.

Gerard Depardieu wrote: “I was born in 1948.

“I started working aged 14, as a printer, as a warehouseman, then as an actor, and I’ve always paid my taxes.”

Gerard Depardieu was spotted stocking up on his favorite cheese before flying to Italy, sparking rumors that he has finally left France for good

Gerard Depardieu was spotted stocking up on his favorite cheese before flying to Italy, sparking rumors that he has finally left France for good

Over 45 years, Gerard Depardieu said, he had paid 145 million euros in tax, and to this day employs 80 people.

Last year he paid taxes amounting to 85% of his income.

“I am neither worthy of pity nor admirable, but I shall not be called <<pathetic>>,” he concluded, saying that he was sending back his French passport.

Under French President François Hollande’s tough new budget measures to tackle a €37million deficit, France will tax income over €1million at 75% of January 1.

The Belgian Foreign Minister has given carte blanche to anyone planning to follow in Gerard Depardieu’s footsteps and move to Belgium in an attempt to escape higher French taxes.

“If other French people want to come to Belgium, I’m not at all opposed,” Didier Reynders said in an interview with Le Figaro.

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Gerard Depardieu announces he is handing back his French passport after Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault criticized him for moving to Belgium to avoid taxes.

In a letter to a newspaper, Gerard Depardieu, 63, lambasted the French government for punishing “success, creation and talent”.

Last week Gerard Depardieu announced he was moving to the small Belgian town of Nechin just over the French border.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault described the decision as “shabby”.

Next year, the top rate of income tax in France is due to become 75% on earnings above 1m euros. It is currently 50% in Belgium.

“I am not asking to be approved of, but I could at least be respected. All of those who have left France have not been insulted as I have been,” Gerard Depardieu said in the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.

 

Gerard Depardieu announces he is handing back his French passport after Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault criticized him for moving to Belgium to avoid taxes

Gerard Depardieu announces he is handing back his French passport after Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault criticized him for moving to Belgium to avoid taxes

 

Gerard Depardieu accused the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande of driving France’s most talented figures out of the country.

“I am leaving because you consider that success, creation, talent, anything different, must be punished,” he said.

Depardieu said that during his long career he had paid 145 million euros to the French taxman.

“At no time have I failed in my duties. The historic films in which I took part bear witness to my love of France and its history,” he said.

Referring to Jean-Marc Ayrault, Gerard Depardieu asked: “Who are you to judge me in this way?”

The prime minister had suggested that Gerard Depardieu’s move to the town of Nechin, just over the border from the French city of Lille, was unpatriotic at a time of cutbacks.

“I find this quite shabby. All that just to avoid paying tax,” he said on France 2 TV channel.

“Paying a tax is an act of solidarity, a patriotic act.”

Belgium is an attractive option for wealthy French people.

Three months ago France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, announced plans to relocate to Belgium although he denied it was for tax reasons.

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French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has described the decision of Gerard Depardieu to move to Belgium to avoid higher taxes as “shabby”.

Jean-Marc Ayrault suggested that Gerard Depardieu’s move to the small town of Nechin, just over the border from the French city of Lille, was unpatriotic at a time of cutbacks.

Nechin’s mayor revealed this week that Gerard Depardieu, 63, had taken up home there.

Some of France’s wealthiest citizens are feeling victimized by the Socialist government.

There is a general disgruntlement in business circles over the tax rates. Luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault made headlines three months ago when he announced plans to relocate to Belgium, denying it was for tax reasons.

However, Gerard Depardieu’s departure is seen as less damaging to the government as his political views are known to be on the right and he is regarded as a rather grumpy, temperamental character.

Belgian residents do not pay wealth tax, which in France applies to individuals with assets above 1.3 million euros ($1.7 million), starting at a rate of 0.25%. Nor do they pay capital gains tax on share sales.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault suggested that Gerard Depardieu's move to Belgium, just over the border from the French city of Lille, was unpatriotic at a time of cutbacks

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault suggested that Gerard Depardieu’s move to Belgium, just over the border from the French city of Lille, was unpatriotic at a time of cutbacks

Next year, the top rate of income tax in France is due to become 75% on earnings above 1 million euros. It is currently 50% in Belgium.

Speaking on the France 2 TV channel, Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “I find this quite shabby… All that just to avoid paying tax.”

Gerard Depardieu was a “great star” whom “everyone loves as an artiste”, he added.

However, according to the prime minister: “Paying a tax is an act of solidarity, a patriotic act.”

French conservative opposition politician Jean-Francois Cope said the departure of Gerard Depardieu was “distressing for the country and its image”.

“You don’t see leading business figures or huge stars moving out of Belgium, Britain, Germany or Italy,” he added.

Gerard Depardieu is celebrated for such cinema roles as Cyrano de Bergerac and Obelix in the Asterix series, and can command 2 million euros per film.

The mayor of Nechin, Daniel Senesael, said the actor had other reasons for moving to his area, which is already home to some 2,800 French citizens including the Mulliez family, owners of French hypermarket chain Auchan and the Decathlon sports stores.

“I think he wanted to enjoy the atmosphere in Belgium, our identity, the rural, bucolic setting,” he told RTL radio.

However, it is quite obvious that the main reason for the move is for tax reasons.

It appears Gerard Depardieu’s new home is an old customs officer’s house, showing just how close it is to the border.

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Gerard Depardieu emerged from a police station in Paris on Friday morning, where he was held overnight after getting arrested for driving the scooter while drunk, according to reports.

Dressed in a sleeveless white shirt, Gerard Depardieu, 63, was well enough to jump back onto the vehicle and drive himself home following the overnight stay at the police station.

Reuters reports that Gerard Depardieu was held for questioning after he fell from his scooter mid-afternoon, slightly injuring his elbow.

No-one else was hurt in the accident.

Agence France-Presse is reporting that when police arrived at the scene and tested Gerard Depardieu, he showed a blood alcohol level of 1.8 grams per litre, well above the French limit for driving of 0.5.

Gerard Depardieu was detained and brought to a police station where he could face misdemeanor charges “after a period of sobering up”, the source told the French news agency.

 

Gerard Depardieu emerged from a police station in Paris on Friday morning, where he was held overnight after getting arrested for driving the scooter while drunk

Gerard Depardieu emerged from a police station in Paris on Friday morning, where he was held overnight after getting arrested for driving the scooter while drunk

 

And it’s not the first motor incident for the beloved French star this year.

One of France’s best-known actors for roles in more than a hundred films, Gerard Depardieu recently grabbed headlines for the wrong reasons again.

Just a few months ago a car driver filed a legal complaint for assault and battery against Gerard Depardieu following an altercation in Paris.

The motorist filed a complaint with the local prosecutor’s office in August accusing the star of assault and battery following the alleged incident in the capital’s Sixth Arrondissement, near the Saint Sulpice Church.

After Gerard Depardieu’s scooter allegedly collided with the unnamed driver, an argument ensued.

The motorist claimed Gerard Depardieu punched him in the face, leaving him injured.

An official from the prosecutor’s office said: “There was a confrontation and the driver filed a complaint.”

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Gerard Depardieu has been accused of assaulting a motorist following a collision in Paris.

Gerard Depardieu, 63, who hit the headlines last year for peeing on a plane, allegedly punched a driver in the face.

The motorist filed a complaint with the local prosecutor’s office on Wednesday accusing Gerard Depardieu of assault and battery following the alleged incident in the capital’s Sixth Arrondissement, near the Saint Sulpice Church.

After Gerard Depardieu’s scooter allegedly collided with the unnamed driver, an argument ensued.

The motorist claims the actor punched him in the face, leaving him injured.

Gerard Depardieu has been accused of assaulting a motorist following a collision in Paris

Gerard Depardieu has been accused of assaulting a motorist following a collision in Paris

An official from the prosecutor’s officer said: “There was a confrontation and the driver filed a complaint.”

Last August, Gerard Depardieu was in the headlines again after he was banned from an Air France flight for urinating in the aisle.

The actor was desperate for the toilet as the plane prepared to take off after he was told he would have to wait to use the bathroom.

Gerard Depardieu tried to urinate in a bottle, but it overflowed on to the floor. The flight ended up being delayed two hours while it was cleaned, and the actor was told he could not fly.

Explaining the scenario on CNN last year, he said: “I’m not a monster. I’m just a man who wants to pee.”

The bottle overflowed because, as he explained: “I am an elephant . . . I have a lot of pee.

“I don’t understand why she blocked the door.”

Asked if he was drunk at the time and if there was “any wine involved”, Gerard Depardieu, who co-owns a vineyard, replied: “No.”

A statement released by his companion on the flight, actor Edouard Baer said the actor “offered to clean up the mess”.

Edouard Baer also claimed: “Gerard is very sorry for what happened. He wanted to go to the toilet but he was forbidden because we were about to take off, so he was forced to do it on the plane in front of everybody.

“He has prostate problems and it was very worrying and humiliating for him. He was also stone-cold sober at the time. This is not the way he usually behaves.”