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Putin gives French actor Depardieu Russian passport

Jan. 5, 2013: French actor Gerard Depardieu, left, greets Russian President Vladimir Putin after his arrival at the president's residence in Sochi.AP

French actor Gerard Depardieu has received a Russian passport after flying to Russia for a late night dinner with President Vladimir Putin.

Depardieu sought Russian citizenship as part of his battle against a proposed super tax on millionaires in France, and Putin granted his request last week.

Russian television showed Putin embracing the actor as he arrived late Saturday at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The two men were then shown chatting over supper, discussing a soon-to-be-released film in which Depardieu plays Russian monk Grigory Rasputin.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed on Sunday that Depardieu was given his new Russian passport.

French President Francois Hollande plans to raise the tax on earned income above euro1 million ($1.3 million) to 75 percent from the current 41 percent, while Russia has a flat 13-percent tax rate.