BRUSSELS/PARIS Nov 16 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