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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Magrez luxury gifts rebuffed by journalists (decanter.com)

Magrez luxury gifts rebuffed by journalists
April 22, 2008

By Jane Anson

Wine magnate Bernard Magrez has outraged a group of journalists by offering each of them a Cartier wristwatch worth €1,650 (£1,322/$2,641).

The watches were distributed after a press lunch hosted by Magrez and French actor Gerard Depardieu on 26 March. The lunch was held at the Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris. Around 50 journalists attended – including wine critic and ex-Revue du Vin de France editor Thierry Desseauve, Philippe Bidalon from L'Express magazine and Gérard Muteaud of Le Nouvel Observateur.

Upon leaving the lunch, journalists were offered a bag that contained a press kit and a box that most did not open until after leaving the restaurant. The box contained the watch, and a certificate of authenticity signed by a Bordeaux jeweller.

One journalist, who requested anonymity, told decanter.com> that many journalists discussed the situation and agreed among themselves that keeping the watches could be misconstrued. It is understood that the majority have been returned.

In response to the gift, Desseauve wrote a letter to Magrez, detailing that he had donated the watch to French homeless charity Restaurants du Coeur.

'Together with my colleague Michel Bettane {also ex-Revue du Vin de France}, who was not there, we wanted to show Mr Magrez that his gesture would not change

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