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Family feuds and billionaire old biddy

Posted by Kit Mitchell-Innes on March 8, 2010 at 7:56 AM

Approaching the French courts is an intriguing case of alleged exploitation to the tune of $1.5 billion.


Liliane Bettencourt aged 87 and heir to the L’Oreal is France’s wealthiest woman. Befriended by the photographer Francois-Marie Banier, 62 she has bestowed around a $1.5 billion worth of gifts upon him, including paintings by Picasso and Matisse.


Liliane’s daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers has waged a two year legal campaign including a failed attempt to have her mother put under court-ordered supervision. The latest trial charges him for exploitation and is set to commence on April 16 in order to “Show that Francois-Marie Banier abused  fragile woman," said Olivier Metzner, lawyer for Bettencourt Meyers. Banier faces up to three years in jail if found guilty.


The Nanterre criminal court also ordered Liliane Bettencourt to undergo a medical examination before March 10 to discern her mental state. For her part Liliane Bettencourt has made only one public pronouncement on the whole affair declaring the whole thing “very unpleasant and upsetting”. She declared "My daughter is going to have to accept that I'm a free woman”.

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