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French Court to Hear Arnault Complaint

Luxury titan has charged Libération with public insult.

PARIS — A court date has been fixed for next year as luxury titan Bernard Arnault seeks amends for public insult against newspaper Libération.


Last month, the left-leaning daily published a photo of Arnault under the headline “Casse-toi riche con!” — whose most polite translation is “Get Lost Rich Idiot!”


The cover treatment was a riposte to Arnault’s revelation that he had applied for Belgian citizenship just as France’s new 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.

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France’s richest man and chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Arnault, said he “is and will remain” a fiscal resident of France. He called Libération’s page-one “unacceptable” and charged that the company’s coverage of the story revealed an antibusiness sentiment counter to what is needed to improve France’s ailing economy and swelling unemployment.


The tribunal correctionnel, a criminal or penal court, confirmed it has fixed a date of Oct. 4, 2013, to hear the case.


Arnault’s lawyer said to be seeking damages and interest between 15,000 euros and 20,000 euros, or between $19,400 and $25,900 at current exchange rates, as well as the publication of the justice’s decision on the front page of Libération.


LVMH had no comment. Libération could not immediately be reached for comment.

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