Tax exile Depardieu hugs Putin as he picks up passport


French film star Gerard Depardieu met Russian president Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea town of Sochi and obtained his Russian passport, the Kremlin said yesterday, after he left his homeland to avoid a new tax rate for millionaires.

Mr Putin signed a decree on Thursday granting Russian citizenship to Mr Depardieu, who objected to French Socialist president François Hollande’s plan to impose the 75 per cent tax rate. His decision to quit France had prompted accusations of national betrayal.

The Russian president and Mr Depardieu were shown on state-run television shaking hands and hugging each other yesterday during what the Kremlin said was a private visit by the actor to Russia. – (Reuters)