Accused of Spying on Journalist, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Pays $11.3 Million Settlement
Luxury goods company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton last month agreed to pay a 10 million euro ($11.3 million) settlement to close a criminal probe into the group’s role in spying on French journalist Francois Ruffin.
By paying the settlement, LVMH circumvents a public trial that could have exposed details of the spying charges, alleged to have been committed by former domestic intelligence services head Bernard Squarcini, whom LVMH hired in 2013. Squarcini is suspected of “drawing on his influence to collect classified information” and spying on Ruffin, according to Reuters, and is under investigation for influence peddling, illegally collecting information on private individuals and violating privacy laws.
In 2016, Ruffin released a documentary film called “Merci, patron!” (Thank you, boss!) that criticized outsourcing French jobs to foreign laborers and focused on LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, following a family that lost their jobs at a supplier to the group.
LVMH’s acceptance of the settlement does not imply an admission of guilt or a ruling against the company, said Caroline Viguier, a judge at the Paris court, according to Reuters.
The settlement reflects an acknowledgment of “past shortcomings, that belong to the past,” LVMH lawyer Jacqueline Laffont said, per Reuters.
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