Home World Europe News Liliane Bettencourt: Eight People Found Guilty of Exploiting L’Oreal Heiress

Liliane Bettencourt: Eight People Found Guilty of Exploiting L’Oreal Heiress


Eight people have been found guilty of exploiting L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, according to a court in Bordeaux, France.

Liliane Bettencourt, 92, is one of the world’s richest people.

Among those convicted was celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier, given three years in prison and ordered to pay €158 million ($170 million) in damages.

François-Marie Banier, who had befriended Liliane Bettencourt, 25 years his senior, argued that he was the only person who made her laugh.

However, a former ally of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy was acquitted.Liliane Bettencourt exploitation

The verdict brings to an end a long-running case that began with a feud between Liliane Bettencourt and her daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers.

In 2007, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers filed charges against Francois-Marie Banier, who had become a close companion of her mother.

Liliane Bettencourt had lavished Francois-Marie Banier with gifts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, including artworks by Picasso and Matisse.

The L’Oreal heiress even made Francois-Marie Banier her sole heir – although this was later revoked.

At the time Liliane Bettencourt said she was a free woman, and her daughter would just have to accept it.

Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers said her mother, who medical records later revealed suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, was being exploited by Francois-Marie Banier.

The court agreed. The president of the hearing in Bourdeaux said Francois-Marie Banier had “a real moral and psychological hold” on Mrs Bettencourt.

Patrice de Maistre and Pascal Wilhelm, who oversaw Liliane Bettencourt’s estimated $40.1 billion fortune, were given fines and 18-month jail sentences.

Eric Woerth, who served as campaign treasurer during Nicolas Sarkozy’s successful bid for the presidency in 2007, was cleared of taking donations from her.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under criminal investigation for allegedly receiving illegal funding from Liliane Bettencourt but this was dropped in 2013.

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