Billionaire Hermès boss ‘adopting his 51-year-old gardener to leave him £5bn handbag fortune after row with family’

Billionaire Hermès boss ‘adopting his 51-year-old gardener to leave him £5bn handbag fortune after row with family’

THE 80-year-old scion of luxury design house Hermès is reportedly planning to leave a hefty chunk of his massive wealth to his gardener.

Billionaire Nicolas Puech will adopt his “former gardener and handyman”, 51, in an unorthodox move which should make him his rightful heir, according to Swiss publication Tribune de Genève.

Heir to Hermès fashion brand Nicolas Puech, 80, reportedly wants to leave his wealth to his former gardenerFacebook

AFPThe fashion house has a market value of more than £183billion[/caption]

GettyHermès handbags are among the most recognisable and sought-after designer handbags in the world[/caption]

Puech is a fifth-generation descendant of Thierry Hermès who founded the iconic brand in 1837.

The Hermès fashion house is today one of the world’s most prestigious with a market value of more than £183billion – of which Puech reportedly owns between five and six per cent.

Allegedly, Puech has already initiated legal proceedings to formalise the adoption of his gardener who comes from a “modest Moroccan family” and has a wife, from Spain, with whom he shares two children.

Puech does not have children and is not married.

If the adoption is legitimate and proceeds, the gardener stands to inherit a significant portion of Puech’s fortune and acquire substantial properties in Marrakesh, Morocco and Montreux, Switzerland valued at about £4.8million.

The French business tycoon plans to pass on half of his inheritance to his potential heir, the Swiss publication reports.

He is, according to Forbes, worth an estimated $11.5billion (£9billion), meaning if he left half of his fortune and the two properties to the gardener, the gardener would receive more than £4.5billion.

Puech reportedly fell out with his family after rival luxury group LVMH acquired a substantial stake in Hermès and Puech resigned from the company’s supervisory board in 2014.

A spokesperson for Puech said at the time: “He resigned because he has felt for several years beleaguered by members of his family, who have attacked him on several fronts, not only regarding LVMH.”

Adult adoption is very rare in Switzerland, where Puech lives reportedly for tax reasons, and a prior relationship during the adoptee’s childhood years is a prerequisite.

According to the official website of the Swiss government, it is a requirement when adopting someone aged 18 or over that “they lived with you for at least a year when they were still a minor”.

Not to mention, the billionaire previously pledged to leave his fortune to the Isocrates Foundation which he created in 2011 and dedicated “to the protection and promotion of public debate”.

In a statement shared with Fortune, the foundation opposed any unilateral cancellation of the inheritance, which could signal a potential showdown, the New York Post reports.

But reports indicate Puech’s alleged decision to adopt his gardener could potentially override any interference by the foundation.

Hermès did not immediately respond to The Sun’s request for comment.

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