24 January 2013 4:56 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy boss Bernard Arnault applies for new nationality and moves shares but denies tax motives

France's richest man, Bernard Arnault, not only wants to become Belgian, he has moved a large part of his fortune north of the border, it was claimed on Thursday.

The billionaire head of the luxury goods group Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, who has applied for Belgian nationality, was reported to have transferred his share in the family group that controls Lvmh to a firm set up for the purpose in Belgium, where taxes are lower.

A spokesperson for Arnault, 63, insisted he was not trying to escape the French taxman, but attempting to preserve the company in case he died suddenly. But the revelation reopened the controversy over Socialist president François Hollande's proposed "supertax" of 75% on earnings over €1m (£850,000) a year.

The high-rate tax, put on hold after France's constitutional court ruled »

- Kim Willsher

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