The Straits Times
Published on Sep 11, 2012

France's wealthiest man sues over 'rich idiot' headline


PARIS (AFP) - France's richest man, Bernard Arnault, said on Monday he would sue a newspaper over a front-page headline - "Get lost, you rich idiot!" - which came after he said he was applying for Belgian nationality.

"Arnault has no other choice, given the extreme vulgarity and the violence of the headline... but to sue Liberation," his representatives said in a statement explaining why he was suing the left-wing daily for libel.

Mr Arnault, the boss of the luxury conglomerate LVMH, insists his seeking a new passport is not aimed at avoiding high taxes about to be imposed on the wealthy by France's new Socialist government.

The Liberation headline, superimposed on a photo of the smiling LVMH boss carrying a red suitcase, is a play on a comment by ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, who publicly muttered "Casse-toi, pov' con" ("Get lost, you poor idiot") at a man who refused to shake his hand.