Pierre Lieutaud, a prefect, works in a senior role at the Ministry of the Interior and has a long background in French intelligence. Mediapart has discovered that this top-level public servant has been formally placed under investigation in the case involving alleged “spying” by the luxury goods group LVMH. Fabrice Arfi reports.
French luxury goods group LVMH, whose wayward security service led by former domestic intelligence chief Bernard Squarcini was revealed to have spied on companies and people, including a leftwing documentary maker whose film was sharply critical of LVMH boss Bernard Arnault, has reached a 10 million-euro settlement with Paris prosecutors which effectively ends further legal action against it.
Two recent reports by French police have revealed in minute detail the spying system set up by the former head of France's domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini, on behalf of the giant luxury goods firm LVMH, which is owned by billionaire Bernard Arnault. Its target was journalist François Ruffin - who is now a Member of Parliament in France - and his publication Fakir. Fabrice Arfi reports.
An opportune letter sent by French foreign affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to LVMH luxury goods group boss Bernard Arnault gave the latter a justification for pulling out of a costly acquisition of US jewellers Tiffany that was agreed before the economic meltdown from the Covid-19 pandemic. According to LVMH, Le Drian, citing a looming tariffs dispute with the US, asked for the 16.6 billion-dollar deal to be halted. Curiously, the letter has never been made public. As Martine Orange reports, it is now at the heart of a legal battle between Tiffany and LVMH to be played out at a trial in the US in January, and threatens to become a major embarrassment for the French government.
France's foreign minister has written an extraordinary letter that provides 'cover' for the French luxury goods group LVMH to pull out of an expensive deal to buy famous American jewellery firm Tiffany it no longer wanted to complete. That letter came after LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault reportedly asked foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for help. The affair is now likely to lead to a long and bitter legal battle, one that could even end up with the French state facing claims for compensation from disgruntled shareholders. Mediapart's Martine Orange argues in this op-ed article that no French government has ever gone out on such a limb to support a private company.
Mediapart is publishing a series of recordings of police phone taps involving the former head of France's domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini. These extraordinary tapes, which date from 2013, reveal the de facto existence of a state within a state, where private and public interests became intertwined. The first series of judicially-approved recordings reveal how after leaving his intelligence post Squarcini, nicknamed 'La Squale' ('The Shark'), was asked by the French luxury goods group LVMH to “infiltrate” an independent magazine in order to spy on it. Neither Squarcini nor LVMH wanted to comment on the content of the tapes. Fabrice Arfi and Pascale Pascariello report.
French companies LVMH and Kering, which own dozens of haute couture brands including Saint Laurent, Dior and Gucci, have signed a charter to ban overly thin models, both female and male, and those aged under-16, from their catwalks and advertising.
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