The French stock market authority has found LVMH secretly bought shares in rival Hermes to build a stake, and not merely make a financial investment as the luxury group has claimed, a newspaper reported.
LVMH said it would fight the findings of the watchdog's probe before its sanctions committee when it meets on May 31 to hear the company's defence.
Hermes was not immediately available for comment.
LVMH, which owns 22.6 percent of Hermes, surprised the market in October 2010 when it announced it had a 14 percent stake, gained partly via derivatives that allowed it to not declare its holding.
Le Monde reported on Saturday that the stock market authority's investigation found LVMH had in 2001-2002 acquired an initial stake of 4.9 percent through subsidiaries based in tax havens and which was not declared in its accounts.
In France, companies are required to disclose when they take a stake worth more than 5, 10 and 15 percent of a another company's capital if the target is listed on the stock market.
In 2007, LVMH resumed accumulating shares in Hermes by buying equity derivatives through financial intermediaries and subsidiaries, with each keeping holdings below the 5 percent disclosure threshold, the newspaper said the probe had found.
Hermes, which sees LVMH's stakebuilding as hostile, argues LVMH did not tell the market for many months it was a buyer of the shares, which would have boosted its shares if public.
The probe concluded that everything pointed to LVMH trying to build a stake in its rival, in contrast to LVMH's claim that it was making a financial investment, the paper said.
"LVMH intends to vigorously contest the conclusions found in this report," the company said in a statement.
"The sanctions committee ... will not hand down a decision until it has examined all evidence presented in LVMH's defence," LVMH said. "It will then only be able to conclude the absence of any wrongdoing by LVMH towards the law and the (stock market authority's) rules."
The deaths of hundreds of workers at a Bangladesh factory have brought about renewed scrutiny of the country’s garment industry. Late last year several retailers, including Wal-Mart, the Gap and H&M, rejected proposals aimed at improving safety following a November factory fire that killed 112 workers.
Bangladesh survivor Reshma Begum: I never dreamed I'd see daylight again
Rescue workers had given up hope of finding anyone else alive in the rubble of the Rana Plaza. Then they heard a faint tapping
First came the collapse. At 9am in the morning, as the day's work started, a ripping, tearing sound, clouds of choking dust, the screams of colleagues and finally silence. Then came fire, rain, and 16 long days in the darkness under the rubble surrounded by the decaying corpses of her friends and colleagues. On Friday came hope.
Through the morning, Reshma Begum, a seamstress who worked on the second floor of the Rana Plaza in a suburb of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, heard rescuers close by. But none heard her.
"I heard voices of the rescue workers. I kept hitting the wreckage with sticks and rods to attract their attention," she told reporters from a hospital bed.
At around 3pm, Abdur Razzaq, an army sergeant deployed to help search the 7,000 tonnes of rubble that was all that remained of the Rana Plaza, picked up the faint sound of metallic tapping. "I heard the sound and rushed towards the spot. I knelt down and heard a faint voice. 'Sir, please help me,' she cried," Razzaq told the Guardian.
The woman had been breathing through a pipe from inside the wreckage, Razzaq said, and had sustained no serious injury.
The collapse of the factory, in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Dhaka, prompted widespread criticism of local authorities, employers and international retailers such as Britain's Primark, which were supplied with clothes by businesses run from its upper floors.
About two-thirds of the more than 3,000 workers in the building managed to flee. But as many as 1,500 may have been buried by rubble. With an official death toll standing at 1,050, relatives and rescue workers had given up hope of finding anyone else alive.
"We were removing slabs," said Lt Col S M Imran-Uz-Zaman, an army spokesman at the site. "We immediately halted work in all other areas and focused on the rescue."
Razzaq said he had heard Reshma's tapping after bulldozers had lifted loose rubble that had been covering the spot. Rescuers saw her standing in the gap between a beam of concrete and the slab.
"When I flashed the torchlight I saw a lot of space and she was walking," said Monwar, a worker at the site.
Daily life in much of the capital ground to a halt as Dhaka's inhabitants watched the rescue unfold live on local television.
Tensions were high. An earlier bid to rescue a woman found in the debris more than 100 hours after the building collapsed went disastrously wrong when sparks from a grinder ignited a fire, killing her and fatally burning a rescue worker.
For an hour, workers used light hammers, drills and saws to remove rods and concrete blocks. Others prayed. Eventually a military engineer was able to climb into the space where Reshma had spent two weeks.
Then, among cheers of "God is Great!", the young woman, with the pink scarf she had worn to work more than two weeks ago around her shoulders, was eased out and on to a stretcher. Rescue workers were seen wiping tears as an ambulance drew away, taking the young woman to a military hospital nearby.
Begum told rescuers she had survived by scavenging for biscuits in the rucksacks of dead colleagues and drinking rainwater.
"No one heard me. It was so bad for me. I never dreamed I'd see the daylight again," she told the private Somoy TV from her hospital bed.
She told the channel she had lived on dried food for 15 days. "There was some dried food around me. The last two days I had nothing but water. I used to drink only a limited quantity of water to save it. I had some bottles of water around me," she said.
Reshma's mother and her sister, Asma, were reported to have rushed to the hospital to meet her.
Army officers co-ordinating the rescue said they were astonished by the woman's strength. "It is incredible that someone could have survived in the wreckage 408 hours after the building came down," Shah Jamal, an army officer, said. "Her will to live is amazing."
Nine people have been arrested in connection with the disaster, including the owner of the Rana Plaza and owners of the factories it housed.
Several major western retailers were being supplied by factories based in the building. Primark and its Canadian counterpart, Loblaw, have announced they will compensate the victims of the disaster, the world's worst industrial accident since the Bhopal gas leak in India in 1984.
The government has blamed the owners and builders of the eight-storey complex for using shoddy construction materials, including substandard rods, bricks and cement, and not obtaining the necessary clearances.
It has emerged that the building was constructed on swampy land. Four storeys were built between 2007 and 2008, with a further four added later. A ninth floor was under construction at the time of the collapse.
The building had developed cracks the day before but worried workers were forced to remain inside by managers who threatened to dock their pay of around £30 a month. When massive generators were switched on when power went off – a frequent occurrence in electricity-starved Dhaka – the building collapsed.
There have been a series of deadly accidents in Bangladesh's garment industry, which accounts for 80% of the country's exports and employs around 4 million people, including a fire in November in which 114 people died. A fire killed eight people at another garment factory in Dhaka earlier this week.
More than 100 more bodies were found in the rubble of the Rana Plaza on Friday. Most are so decomposed that physical recognition is impossible.
Deep anger at both authorities and employers remains. Garment workers demonstrated for better conditions in the aftermath of the disaster and clashed with police. But all welcomed yesterday's news.
"God is amazing," said Julekha, a 31-year-old garment worker in Savar. Our supervisor told us that a woman was rescued from the rubble. I later watched her on television. Everyone in our workplace was surprised. It's a little happiness amid all the sorrows that we have been filled with in the last so many days."
Loss comes after Vittorio Missoni went missing in January
Milan, May 9 - Italian knitwear impresario Ottavio "Tai" Missoni, whose distinctive colourful zigzag dresses became a global fashion empire, died on Thursday at his home in northern Italy at 92, his family said.
Missoni co-founded the fashion brand in 1953 with his wife Rosita Jelmini and their designs have graced the rich and famous from Jackie Kennedy to the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
Missoni was born in the then Yugoslavia on February 11, 1921 and started out with a career in track athletics after moving to Italy.
He became a national champion before World War II and took part in the 1948 London Olympics.
During the war, he fought in the Battle of El-Alamein and was held as a prisoner of war.
At the Olympics he met his future wife, whose family owned a textile business in northern Italy.
The Missoni brand quickly earned a reputation for testing new boundaries in the 1960s and was kicked out of the Pitti fashion shows in Florence when its models did not wear bras on the catwalk.
Missoni was a self-effacing, jovial man who told one interviewer that the geometric patterns on his dresses "were like that simply because we had machinery that could only make straight lines."
But the company kept up a reputation for innovation in recent years and was the first to delve into the mass market through a successful partnership with US mega-store chain Target.
It also followed other major Italian fashion chains in setting up branded hotels in different cities including Edinburgh and Kuwait.
But Missoni suffered tragedy earlier this year when a plane carrying his eldest son, Vittorio, and five other people went missing on a flight from the Venezuelan island resort of Los Roques.
An intensive search failed to yield results and the 58-year-old is feared dead. Via AFP
In the video a drunk Galliano, seated at table à L'Absinthe, insults a group of Italian women and declares "I love Hitler... People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be fucking gassed." This incident happened just before Paris Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 2011-12.
Humor Chic by aleXsandro Palombo is a daily society portrait blog, the best illustrated fashion chronicle, a point of view about costume, politics, culture, society and celebrity.
aleXsandro Palombo is the father of Fashion Satire, visionary artist, author and critic.
"When I put pencil to paper, I know where I'll start but I don't know where I'll finish"
"My panels are like a performance and not a copy of real life. Every character wears a creation of mine, my personal vision of style” - aleXsandro Palombo