“Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to France’s Gerard Depardieu,” said the Kremlin.

Depardieu has been highly vocal in his criticism of a new 75 per cent top band of income tax enacted by François Hollande’s government and subsequently struck down by the country’s high court.

Initial reports suggested that the Unhook the Stars actor would move to Belgium once the law, aimed at those earning over £800,000 a year, came into effect.

Despite France’s highest court striking down the legislation, citing it as unconstitutional, France’s government have vowed to push ahead to enact it with caveats to make it constitutional.

Depardieu, a self-confessed bon vivant, would enjoy a range of other benefits should he decide to take up Putin’s offer, including visa-free travel to Belarus. Snazzy.

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