CONSOB, the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa, the public authority responsible for regulating Italy’s financial markets, has issued a decision that claims Antonio Belloni, group managing director of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, revealed confidential and sensitive information to an investment firm based in Switzerland at the time of the French group’s acquisition of Bulgari.
The nature of the information was not revealed, but the decision also charges Pentagram SA Wealth Management, the investment firm, and Alessandro Sonvico of that company. An LVMH spokesman said the measure involves a fine amounting to 350,000 euros, or $385,067.
CONSOB’s decision concerns Belloni as an individual and not the LVMH group. Belloni has filed an immediate appeal before the court and his lawyers said the executive was “challenging all aspects of the charges against him.”
Through his lawyers, Belloni said he was “disappointed with the administrative decision, which he considers unjust, and approaches the appeal process with the calmness of someone who has done nothing illegal.”
A legal source said CONSOB “is not claiming Belloni had any direct profit nor that he was directly operative on any deal.”
LVMH said it had been “fully informed” by Belloni “throughout,” and noted it “maintains full confidence” in the executive, “whose loyalty and integrity have been constant features since he first joined the group in 2001.” Belloni was previously president of Proctor & Gamble in Europe.
LVMH concluded that its “French and Italian lawyers have verified that none of the positions held by Mr. Belloni are affected by the decision.”
In a transaction with a total value of more than $6 billion, Bernard Arnault’s LVMH in March 2011 agreed to acquire 50.4 percent of Rome-based jeweler Bulgari in a cash-and-share swap, and launched a bid for the remaining shares, doubling the size of the group’s watch and jewelry division.
Bulgari was listed on the Italian Stock Exchange before the deal and was delisted following completion of the transaction with LVMH. In September 2011, LVMH controlled 98.1 percent of Bulgari, as part of its tender offer for minority shareholders.