Bernard Arnault Stops by the Bank, Transfers $7.9 Billion From France to Belgium

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Photo: Liberation

Before today, LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault last appeared on the cover of French daily Libération in September, next to the headline, Casse-toi riche con! or "Get the Eff Out, Rich Idiot." The reason behind the kind words: Bernie had applied for dual French-Belgian citizenship, sparking rumors that he'd be moving to Belgium to avoid his country's proposed 75 percent tax on those who make more than €1 million ($1.32 million). But Arnault has maintained that he would stay a fiscal resident of France, even after a lawmaker there claimed Belgium was "in need of" Arnault, likely said by SMS while he was weeping to Firehouse.  

Why the front-page treatment, again? WWD writes:

Now the newspaper is probing details on a plan it says he has set up for his Belgian foundation, under the headline: "Les secrets belges de Bernard Arnault," whose translation is "The Belgian Secrets of Bernard Arnault."

And the Telegraph (via the Financial Times) shares one of the secrets: Arnault has officially moved his £5 billion ($7.9 billion) fortune from France to Belgium, in case he kicks it before 2023.

The move will protect a break-up of the brands he has acquired over the past 30 years when he dies.

Through a private foundation called Protectinvest, which will only become operational when Arnault, 63, dies, his five children would be unable to sell LVMH shares within the next 10 years, reports the Financial Times.

France's legal systems do not have such private foundations in place, hence why the neighbouring country was chosen.

Perhaps unpatriotic, Arnault knows what he's doing when it comes to dollar dollar bills, as evidenced by his large collection of them. Realistically speaking, there aren't many people in the world who could responsibly handle $8 billion. And we won't pretend to be on that short list. We've heard of some debit card that gives you 3 percent back on groceries, but the paperwork is a drag.