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Depardieu: 'I'm French' despite Russian passport

PARIS (AP) -- French actor Gerard Depardieu has denied accepting Russian citizenship to escape the taxman in France.

In an interview Monday on L'Equipe 21 sports channel, he said: "I have a Russian passport, but I remain French and I will probably have dual Belgian nationality. But if I'd wanted to escape the taxman, as the French press say, I would have done it a long time ago."

Depardieu received his Russian passport from President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.

The film star has caused an uproar in France by saying in mid-December that he's turning in his French passport over an insult from Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who called him "pathetic" for deciding to move to tax-friendly Belgium.

France's new Socialist government wants to steeply raise income taxes on the wealthy.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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