French Slam Fleeing Richest Guy as 'Traitor'

'Ingrate' billionaire announces move to Belgium in wake of 75% tax
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2012 12:00 AM CDT
"Get Lost You Rich Idiot," said one anti-Arnault headline.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

(Newser) – France's richest man has infuriated his countrymen by announcing a move to Belgium ahead of the Socialist government's planned 75% tax on the country's wealthiest citizens. Louis Vuitton CEO Bernauld Arnault denies he is seeking Belgian citizenship for tax reasons, but he has been denounced from all quarters as a "traitor," "ingrate," and "parasite," reports the Christian Science Monitor. He is suing the left-wing paper Liberation over its headline: "Get Lost, You Rich Idiot," which he calls "vulgar."

Arnault—the world's fourth-richest man, with a fortune of around $41 billion—moved to the US for three years after a previous Socialist government was elected in 1981. He claims the Belgian move is for business reasons, though many suspect it is a first step toward a move to Monaco, which requires French citizens, but not Belgians, to pay French taxes. President François Hollande says Arnault "should have reflected on what it means to ask for another nationality, because we are proud to be French." He says the tax on the super-wealthy is "symbolic," and will "set an example" for the rest of society. (Read more taxes stories.)

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