France's richest man to sue over 'idiotic' headline

FRANCE - France's richest man, Mr Bernard Arnault, said on Monday he would sue a newspaper over a front-page headline – “Get lost, you rich idiot!” – published after he said he was applying for Belgian nationality.

“Arnault has no other choice, given the extreme vulgarity and violence of the headline...but to sue Liberation,” his representatives said in a statement.

Mr Arnault, the boss of the luxury conglomerate LVMH, rejected criticism that he was being anti-patriotic on Sunday, insisting that he was not becoming a tax exile, despite seeking Belgian nationality as crisis-hit France moves to impose a 75 per cent tax on top earners.

The Liberation headline is a play on a comment by former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who publicly muttered “Get lost, you poor idiot” at a man who refused to shake his hand.

Mr Arnault, the world’s fourth-richest man – whose fortune Forbes magazine estimates at US$41 billion (S$51 billion) was close to Mr Sarkozy.

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