France's richest man, Bernard Arnault, head of the LVMH luxury group, is suing the leftwing newspaper Libération for publicly insulting him.Arnault launched a lawsuit on Monday after the paper carried a large photograph of the business tycoon with the headline "Casse-toi riche con!" (Get lost, rich jerk) on its front page.The headline echoed the former president Nicolas Sarkozy's insult to a farmworker who refused to shake his hand at the national agricultural show.Sarkozy told the man: "Casse-toi pauv' con!" (Get lost, poor jerk).
The Libération story referred to Arnault's announcement that he was seeking Belgian nationality just a day before President François Hollande confirmed a 75% tax band for those earning more than €1m a year.Hollande has called for exceptional "solidarity" from the rich to help France overcome its economic woes that include high unemployment, public debt and stuttering growth. Hollande has said there will be "no exceptions" to the new tax and asked business leaders to lead by example by paying up.