RUBENS TRADING HALTED

PARIS — Trading of shares in the French sportswear firm Regina Rubens Holdings was suspended last week while the French accounting authorities investigate irregularities.
LV Capital, the investment arm of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which took a 36.4 percent stake in Regina Rubens in 1999, asked to have Rubens, relieved of her duties as president. She continues, however, her design duties.
“We have to protect our interests,” an LVMH spokesman said. Michel Pietrini, formerly an executive at Lancel, has assumed the president’s functions, LV Capital said in a statement.
The specific nature of the irregularities could not be learned, however, it is believed that the amount of money involved totals about $1.5 million.
Regina Rubens, an upscale French label, similar to Banana Republic, that quickly interprets runway trends, went public on France’s Nouveau Marche in 1998. It had sales of about $12 million in 1999 and operates some 13 wholly owned stores in Paris and other French cities. The firm announced last year an expansion drive that would include stores in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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