Bernard Arnault Drops Legal Complaint Against Libération Newspaper

A French criminal court was due to hear the case on Oct. 4.

OLIVE BRANCH: Bernard Arnault has withdrawn his legal complaint for public insult against newspaper Libération, according to a source familiar with the matter.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!”

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.