*** ----> Macron decorates world's richest man Arnault as Beyonce, Musk look on | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Macron decorates world's richest man Arnault as Beyonce, Musk look on

AFP | Paris   

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

France's President Emmanuel Macron decorated the world's richest man Bernard Arnault at a star-studded ceremony that included pop queen Beyonce and tech billionaire Elon Musk, the presidency and a news report said Thursday.

Macron awarded Arnault the country's highest honour, the Grand Cross of the Legion d'Honneur, at the event on Wednesday evening, the presidency said, confirming a report on news website Politico.

Among the A-listers present were Beyonce, her husband hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, Queen Rania of Jordan and the world's third richest man Musk, several attendees told Politico.

Beyonce was wearing a "magnificent" if "awkward" large hat, two of them said.

French citizen Arnault founded luxury goods giant LVMH, which has signed up as a "premium partner" for the July 26-August 11 Paris Olympics, including to design medals for the athletes.

LVMH is the world's biggest luxury goods giant, with brands across fashion, jewellery, perfume, alcohol and luggage.

Bernard Arnault and his family's fortune is estimated at around $240 billion (219 billion euros) by Forbes, making him the wealthiest man in the world ahead of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Musk.

His wealth and LVMH's huge profits frequently draw criticism in a country strongly attached to wealth redistribution.

A person close to the president told Politico Macron gave a "very Proustian" speech on the theme of time, explaining how Arnault has been able to "see and build far ahead" to "sell a form of eternal Frenchness".

Macron last year came under fire from the French left for awarding Bezos the country's highest order of merit.

Musk, the chief executive of electric car firm Tesla, cosmic exploration outfit SpaceX and social media company X, last year said he was he was considering "significant investments in France" after meeting Macron.

- Putin, Assad, Weinstein -

France grants the Legion d'Honneur to around 3,000 people a year, including 400 foreigners recognised for their "services rendered to France" or for defending human rights, press freedom or other causes.

The honour is often a source of controversy.

Macron said last year that he might strip Russian President Vladimir Putin of the distinction after his invasion of Ukraine in 2022, but was waiting for the "right moment" to do so.

The Russian leader received it in 2006 at a time when Moscow enjoyed better relations with Paris and the West.

Macron in 2017 withdrew the Legion d'Honneur from Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after a series of accusations of sexual harassment and rape.

In 2018, he said he was looking into stripping President Bashar al-Assad of his Legion d'Honneur over alleged crimes committed during the Syrian civil war.

Syria, whose president had received the honour in 2001, returned it, saying Assad would not wear the award of a "slave" to the United States.

But in 2020, Macron gave the same award to his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whom right activists have accused of leading a relentless crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners in his country.