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Adoption planned: Hermès billionaire Nicola Puech, seen here in an archive photo from 2011, arranges his estate in an unconventional way

Photo: Bernard Bisson / Jdd / Sipa / Action Press

According to media reports, a descendant of the French luxury fashion house Hermès wants to adopt a domestic worker and bequeath him part of his fortune of several billion Swiss francs. The single and childless Nicolas Puech (80) has decided to "turn his estate upside down" and bequeath part of the assets to the 51-year-old employee, the "Tribune de Genève" reported on Friday.

Puech lives in the canton of Valais in southern Switzerland and, according to the newspaper, is the largest single shareholder of the luxury brand known for its leather handbags. The magazine "Bilan" estimates the fortune of the Hermès heir at nine to ten billion Swiss francs (the equivalent of 9.4 to 10.4 billion euros).

According to the Tribune de Genève, in October 2022, Puech had hired a lawyer to rearrange his estate and initiate adoption proceedings. In Switzerland, according to the newspaper, the adoption of an adult is not impossible, but it is unusual. If the adoption process is successful, the domestic worker could inherit "at least half" of the billion-dollar fortune.

According to the newspaper report, the planned adoption is meeting with resistance. According to the report, in 2011 Puech had signed an inheritance contract in favor of the Geneva-based Isocrate Foundation, which supports journalistic projects to combat disinformation.

In response to an inquiry from the AFP news agency, the foundation said it had "recently" learned of its founder's intention to cancel the inheritance contract. The Foundation regrets that its charitable activities are threatened by circumstances "beyond its control".