LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault threw his support behind Beijing as concerns grow in France over Chinese calls for a boycott of French goods.

Arnault, who also has a 10 per cent stake in supermarket giant Carrefour, has distanced himself from the Dalai Lama after rumours were circulated that Arnault had given him financial support. He was forced to speak out following pro-Tibetan demonstrations that accompanied the Olympic torch relay.

Arnault told a French newspaper: “Even if it may be shocking to see what’s happening in Tibet, it’s equally shocking to see China being attacked. I refute categorically the allegations over backing the Dalai Lama.”

Consumers in France are being urged to boycott both Carrefour’s supermarkets and LVMH’s luxury brands, which include Fendi and Louis Vuitton.