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Paris judge approves 10 million euro settlement with LVMH in spy case -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Bernard Arnault is Chief Executive Officer at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE. He attends the shareholders meeting held in Paris (France) on April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo


PARIS (Reuters) – A Paris judge approved a 10 million euro ($11.27 million) settlement with LVMH on Friday that closes a criminal probe into the luxury group’s role in a spying case involving the former top boss of France’s security services.

This agreement prevents Bernard Squarcini (ex-head of domestic intelligence services) from suing the world’s biggest luxury company and the owner of the Louis Vuitton fashion houses and Dior.

According to court papers, Squarcini was employed by luxury goods company in 2013. He is suspected of using his influence to gather classified information, and, notably, spying on Francois Ruffin, an activist journalist.

Ruffin created a documentary film, “Merci Patron”, in 2016 that focused on Bernard Arnault as LVMH’s boss. It was about a family that had lost their jobs as a supplier of the group.

Former intelligence chief and consultant to the luxury group over many years is being investigated for influence peddling, illegally obtaining information about private persons, and violation of privacy laws.

Squarcini’s lawyer, who previously denied wrongdoing, did not respond to Friday’s request for comment.

Paris’ public prosecutor said that the agreement was an efficient way to sanction acts against penal law, which the company proved had ceased.

Caroline Viguier (a Paris judge) said that LVMH’s acceptance does not imply guilt.

According to Jacqueline Laffont (LVMH), the settlement reflects acknowledgment of past shortcomings that are part of the present. Jacqueline Laffont spoke at a hearing just before the announcement.

($1 = 0.8870 euros)

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