OLIVE BRANCH: Bernard Arnault has withdrawn his legal complaint for public insult against newspaper Libération, according to a source familiar with the matter.
A French criminal court was due to hear the case on Oct. 4. Arnault filed the complaint against the left-leaning daily after it published a photo of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman and chief executive officer under the headline “Casse-toi riche con!” — the most polite translation of which is “Get Lost Rich Idiot!”
This story first appeared in the September 17, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The cover treatment last year was a riposte to Arnault’s revelation that he had applied for Belgian citizenship, just as France’s Socialist government vowed to impose a 75 percent tax rate on incomes of more than 1 million euros, or $1.3 million at current exchange.
Arnault said at the time that he intended to remain a fiscal resident of France.
The source said the businessman, who has since dropped his request for a Belgian passport, was keen to resume “normal relations” with Libération. It is understood that LVMH stopped advertising in the paper in retaliation for the cover story, in a move likely to have compounded the ailing paper’s financial woes.
A spokesman for Arnault declined to comment.
France’s richest man was said to have been seeking damages and interest between 15,000 euros and 20,000 euros, or between $19,950 and $26,585 at current exchange rates, as well as the publication of the court’s decision on the front page of Libération.