20/12/2012 11:37 GMT | Updated 20/12/2012 11:38 GMT

French Actor Gerard Depardieu 'Offerred' Russian Passport By Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin has offered French actor Gerard Depardieu a Russian passport after the film-star gave up his own in protest at France's new tax laws.

It was originally thought to be just a hoax after Depardieu, star of 'Green Card' was quoted as saying Putin had already sent him one, reported Le Monde.

This was then followed by an offer from Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov saying the Republic would "welcome the great artist", further fueling rumours of a move.

gerard depardieu

Depardieu wrote an open letter to French President, François Hollande, deploring the country's tax crackdown on the rich

Putin then "confirmed" the offer at a press conference on Thursday.

He said: "If Gerard really wants to have a residency permit in Russia, or a Russian passport, we can consider this issue resolved positively."

Putin’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, then said: “I haven’t heard anything about it. It must be a joke," reported RT.