Billions of Euros Flow from France to Belgium
The French are pissed that rich citizens are leaving. Wait until they find out they're bringing their companies along.
Investment vehicles associated with French luxury group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (MC) have amassed assets totaling €4 billion ($5.2 billion) in neighboring Belgium, where Arnault, LVMH's principal shareholder as well as its chairman, recently applied for citizenship.
Belgian central bank records show that 12 companies and a private foundation, all connected to LVMH and based in Brussels, have more than tripled their assets since 2008. Olivier Labesse, an LVMH spokesman, says the companies are investment vehicles for $26 billion-a-year LVMH, which he says has made Belgium its "operational center of finance" in recent years to take advantage of more-favorable tax treatment there. Other European companies are doing likewise, he says. The shifting of assets to Belgium "has nothing to do" with Arnault's personal tax situation, says Labesse.