Bernard Arnault, the second richest man in the world, lashes out at his compatriots in France for resenting his wealth.
The second richest man in the world has lashed out at his compatriots in France for resenting his wealth and saying they like to criticize the successful.
Bernard Arnault, the boss of luxury goods giant LVMH whose fortune is estimated by Forbes at £178 billion, said the French prefer losers to billionaires like him.
Speaking to French newspaper Le Figaro, the fashion magnate said: “France is a country that likes to criticize, especially those who succeed and who are a little known. I am the first in my domain.’
He said the French “always prefer Poulidor,” a reference to cyclist Raymond Poulidor, who was known as “the eternal second” after finishing second in the Tour de France three times in the 1960s and 1970s.
Arnault’s empire includes Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Christian Dior, Fendi and Givenchy.
Showing off: Bernard Arnault (pictured with daughter Delphine)
The 74-year-old, who has earned the nickname “the wolf in cashmere,” is the third person in history to amass a $200 billion fortune. Only Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk is richer than him.
He also accused left-wing critics of wanting to turn France into Venezuela after criticism from the leader of a French radical left party that being a top billionaire is “the worst of offenses.”
Arnault: ‘Criticism of the market economy has more resonance because the extremes are very loud at the moment. Their only obsession is to raise taxes even further when they are already higher than anywhere in Europe.
‘You sometimes get the impression that Venezuela is their example, while extreme poverty prevails there.’ Arnault also lashed out at the country’s right wing, arguing that the leaders “give the impression of being ashamed and seeking the approval of voters who will not vote for them anyway.”
It is not the first time Arnault has come into the crosshairs of a French malaise towards the super-rich. The left-wing newspaper Liberation called him a “rich jerk” after he pledged in 2012 to seek Belgian nationality against a 75 percent tax on top earners.