French actor Gerard Depardieu became an honorary citizen of Belgium on Saturday (24.08.13) despite obtaining Russian citizenship in January to avoid paying taxes in his native country.
Gerard Depardieu became an honorary citizen of Belgium on Saturday (24.08.13).
The 63-year-old French actor - who moved there last December over his anger at French President Francois Hollande's proposed 75 per cent tax hike on the super-rich - hosted a party for 200 of his neighbours to celebrate the occasion in his new home town of Nechin, which is located beside the French border.
But 'The Life of Pi' star, who put his $65 million home in Paris on the market last year, insisted that he still loves his native country and his anti-tax stance was a misunderstanding.
According to local press, he said: ''I am a free man. I feel home everywhere in Europe.''
He added: ''It's a big misunderstanding. I love France.''
Russian President Vladimir Putin also granted the actor citizenship earlier this year shortly after Gerard declared in an open letter than he planned to turn over his passport and French social security card because of Hollande's new tax on millionaires.
But it seems the actor then decided that it was more suitable for him to become a Belgium national and he appears to be completely at ease in Nechin, which has become well known for the number of French millionaires living there.
France's civil code states that a person must take up a new nationality in order to relinquish their French citizenship.
Gerard previously ranted: ''We no longer have the same homeland, I am a true European, a citizen of the world, as my father always taught me to believe.''
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