Belgian court investigating LVMH chief Arnault-owned firm
BRUSSELS/PARIS Nov 16 (Reuters) - Brussels prosecutors have opened an investigation into a 2.9 billion euro capital increase in a Belgian company owned by French billionaire and chief executive of LVMH Bernard Arnault, Belgian daily De Tijd said on Saturday.
An LVMH spokesman confirmed the investigation in a statement emailed to Reuters and said it was the normal consequence of a procedure started a year ago.
"We are investigating a 2.9 billion euro capital increase at his Belgian company Pilinvest," court spokeswoman Jennifer Vanderputten was quoted as saying by De Tijd.
The paper said Pilinvest was holding shares of a family-owned company that indirectly owns shares in French luxury group LVMH.
A Brussels court spokesman was not available for comment.
LVMH said Pilinvest was created in Belgium 14 years ago and had operated as a holding company since then.
"(Pilinvest) has always respected current legislation and has a tax agreement with Belgian authorities," it added.
Arnaud, France's richest man, last year caused controversy by requesting Belgian nationality as France prepared to introduce a 75 percent supertax.
He later withdrew the request and said his frustrated efforts to acquire Belgian nationality were motivated not by tax concerns but a desire to tie up legal ownership issues so that his children would not fight over the riches he would one day leave to them. (Reporting by Jan Strupczewski and Geert De Clercq; editing by Ralph Boulton)
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