LVMH's Arnault shifts 2.1 billion euros to Belgium -newspaper

BRUSSELS, July 31 Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:51am EDT

BRUSSELS, July 31 (Reuters) - Bernard Arnault, chief executive of French luxury group LVMH, pumped some 2.1 billion euros ($2.78 billion) across the border into Belgium in 2012, Belgian business daily De Tijd wrote, citing national bank documents.

Arnault, who is France's richest man, last year said he had applied for Belgian nationality, citing personal and business reasons, but withdrew this request after facing a wave of criticism at home.

National bank data show that LVMH Finance Belgique secured 1.32 billion euros in capital increases in 2012, while Hanninvest, another investment vehicle linked to Arnault, received an additional 720 million euros.

The filings did not make clear where the money came from.

The shareholders equity of LVMH Finance Belgique was 4.1 billion euros while Hanninvest had 3.9 billion on its books.

LVMH declined to comment officially. ($1 = 0.7547 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Patrick Graham)

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