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France's richest man turns to Belgium as wealth tax looms

BRUSSELS--Bernard Arnault, the richest man in France and the world's fourth-wealthiest, confirmed reports Saturday that he was seeking Belgian nationality as Paris moves to impose a 75-percent wealth tax.

But the 63-year-old billionaire head of the LVMH luxury goods empire denied he planned to be a tax exile and said he would also keep his French citizenship.

The Belgian daily La Libre Belgique earlier quoted Georges Dallemagne, the head of the Belgian parliament's naturalization commission, as saying that Arnault's application would be treated the same as all the others.”

“We currently have 47,000 before us,” he told the paper.

Belgian legislation requires applicants for citizenship to have had at least three years residency in Belgium, barring which they need to prove ties to the country, Dallemagne said.

Arnault lives in Paris and has a home in Brussels, the daily said.

“Contrary to the reports published today, Mr Bernard Arnault states that he is and will remain a French tax resident,” a statement put out by Arnault's press office said.

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