French foreign minister defends role in Tiffany/LVMH letter

FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrives at the Residence Palace ahead of an informal breakfast with EU foreign ministers and Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Brussels, Belgium, September 21, 2020. Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday his intervention asking LVMH LVMH.PA to defer its acquisition of Tiffany TIF.N was normal and followed an enquiry from the French luxury goods group.

Asked in parliament about a letter he sent LVMH at the end of August, requesting the group defer the completion of the Tiffany deal until January amid trade tensions with the United States, Le Drian said it was his job to brief companies about the government’s stance on foreign affairs and looming events.

“My role is to respond to their political queries, whatever the country and especially when it comes to the United States,” Le Drian said, adding: “This is the reason I responded to an enquiry from the LVMH group, which is completely within my remit.”

He gave no further details about the nature of the enquiry.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Jean-Stephane Brosse and Sarah White