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Friday, January 25, 2013

France's Richest Man Moves to Belgium Avoiding Oppressive Taxes


Back in September when Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault the richest man in France applied for Belgian citizenship. Left-wing French newspaper Libération ran a picture of the head of LVMH with the headline, Casse-toi riche con!  which (according to Google Translate) means "F**K Off Rich Idiot!"

Today he took their advice and moved all his financial assets to Belgium for ‘family inheritance reasons." (He has transferred his 31 per cent stake in Groupe Arnault, the family holding that controls LVMH, to Pilinvest, a Belgian firm that he specifically set up for the purpose).

The consensus opinion is he wants to avoid a 75 per cent top rate on income being introduced by President Francois Hollande so he will have something left over for his family to inherit.
..others are convinced that the 63-year-old has joined other tycoons and celebrities in wanting to avoid taxes – including a 75 per cent top rate on income – introduced by Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Mr Arnault applied for a Belgian passport soon after the Socialists won elections last year.

Mr Arnault, who owns numerous homes around the world including one in London, applied for a Belgian passport soon after Mr Hollande’s Socialists won presidential and parliamentary elections last year.

Critics immediately attacked him for leaving the country that is associated with all the brands which made his fortune - including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Guerlain, Moet & Chandon champagne and Hennessy cognac.
Last month, French movie star Gerard Depardieu became another high-profile Frenchman moving his assets abroad. He announced he was taking up legal residence in a small village just over the border in Belgium, alongside hundreds of other wealthy French nationals seeking lower taxes (and ended up with Russian citizenship). And earlier this week former French President Sarkosy was discovered to be moving to Great Britain to escape the oppressive taxes.

Tax and spend liberals such as French President Hollande and U.S. President Obama can't get it through their thick skulls. Some people vote at the ballot box, others vote with their feet.  Some people (who can afford it) will stop working others may leave even leave the country. In the end what usually happens is higher tax rates lead to lower tax revenue.  The successful will not fight a class war, they will move to a different country and take their money with them.


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