France's richest man's bid to be Belgian suffers setback

BRUSSELS Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:00pm IST

LVMH Chief Executive Bernard Arnault speaks during a news conference to present the group's 2010 results in Paris February 4, 2011. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/Files

LVMH Chief Executive Bernard Arnault speaks during a news conference to present the group's 2010 results in Paris February 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   
Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels as they rehearse for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

"Beating The Retreat" Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on for "Beating the Retreat" ceremony which symbolises retreat after a day on the battlefield, and marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations.  Slideshow 

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian prosecutors have advised against giving citizenship to Bernard Arnault, France's richest man and chief executive of luxury group LVMH (LVMH.PA), whom critics accuse of seeking to avoid French taxes.

Arnault had not shown he had principally been living in Belgium for the required period of at least three years, a spokesman for the prosecutors said.

"There is also a preliminary examination of his businesses in Belgium," he added.

An LVMH spokesman in Paris said the prosecutors' decision was no more than "a stage in the process of seeking a double-nationality which won't prejudice its final outcome."

Arnault's bid for Belgian citizenship in September caused uproar in France. Critics believed the move was a bid to avoid a then planned 75 percent supertax on income over 1 million euros and duties on wealth. Arnault has denied this is the reason.

Belgian citizenship is granted by a parliamentary committee, which takes advice from prosecutors, the state security agency and the immigration office. The latter also gave negative advice last month, Belgian media reported.

Arnault has several companies in Belgium, a number of them officially based in a modest apartment building in the Belgian capital, others in a glass office block on chic commercial street Avenue Louise.

LVMH has said its Belgian activities and those of the Arnault group are entirely legitimate and in compliance with the country's tax rules.

Belgian residents, whether or not they are Belgian citizens, do not pay a wealth tax, which in France is now levied on those with assets over 1.3 million euros. Nor do they pay capital gains tax on share sales.

French actor Gerard Depardieu confirmed last month he was leaving France for Belgium to shelter from tax, a moved branded by French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault as "pathetic". Depardieu has since received a Russian passport.

France has been studying how to amend the supertax on the rich - a key plank in President Francois Hollande's campaign platform last year - after it was thrown out by a top court. A government source said last week it could abandon its reference to a special 75 percent tranche. (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; additional reporting by Jean-Michel Belot; Editing by Mark Potter)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Reuters Showcase

Record Earnings

Record Earnings

Apple iPhone sales trample expectations as profit sets global record  Full Article 

Motor Racing

Motor Racing

Force India to miss Jerez F1 test  Full Article 

'Umrika' At Sundance

'Umrika' At Sundance

From Oscars to Sundance, Sharma and Revolori discuss India's 'Umrika'  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Djokovic, Wawrinka set up epic showdown, ill Serena through  Full Article 

India's Male Tenor

India's Male Tenor

India's lone male tenor aims to sing opera in local key  Full Article 

Hostage Case

Hostage Case

Jordan proposes prisoner swap, fate of Japanese IS hostage unclear  Full Article 

U.S. Blizzard

U.S. Blizzard

Blizzard hits Boston and New England, spares New York despite forecasts.  Full Article 

Spying Row

Spying Row

Spying program leaked by Snowden is tied to campaign in many countries.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage