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By
AFP
Published
Jun 15, 2009
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Liliane Bettencourt again refuses medical assessment requested by court

By
AFP
Published
Jun 15, 2009

The principal shareholder of L’Oréal, Liliane Bettencourt, has once again refused a medical evaluation requested by the prosecutor’s office of Nanterre in the inquiry into the gifts of almost €1 billion that she gave to the photographer François-Marie Banier, revealed a source close to the matter on June 11, confirming a story in French newspaper, the Libération.


Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP

In this matter it is the daughter of Mrs Bettencourt, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, who filed a complaint on the 19th of December 2007, suspecting that the photographer had abused the possible weakness of her mother to obtain these gifts.

Since the beginning of the preliminary investigation Liliane Bettencourt, 86 years old, has refused to submit to a medical examination in the conditions fixed by the prosecution of Nanterre, but in April she handed in the report of a neuro-psychiatrist, whom she had chosen herself, that declared her to have perfect mental health.

The prosecutor for Nanterre, Philippe Courroye, had proposed a new examination run by the same College of Physicians that the neuro-psychiatrist chosen by Mrs Bettencourt also belongs to, but the prosecution’s lawyers have been informed of the refusal of this situation by letter, a source close to the situation explained to AFP.

Famous for being the “richest woman in France”, the heiress of the global leader in cosmetics has always refuted having been a victim of the photographer, who she described as an “artist” “full of ingenuity” in an interview with the Sunday paper Journal du Dimanche in December 2008.

In her complaint, which AFP has seen, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers states the contrary, that her mother can sometimes “not be in full possession of her faculties”.

This complaint, fueled by multiple testimonies from Liliane Bettencourt’s entourage (accountant, housemaid, personal nurse), denounced the “strong hold” that the photographer exercised over her.

Over the years, the gifts have taken the form of bank cheques, life insurance contracts and paintings.

“What I have given to François-Marie Banier, whilst sizeable, is not very large in proportion” of a fortune which was estimated to be close to $23 billion by Forbes magazine in 2008, Liliane Bettencourt replied to the Journal du Dimanche.

“I have left my full participation in L’Oréal in bare ownership to my daughter, she will have everything after my death,” she added, specifying that “my daughter, I don’t see her anymore and I don’t want to.”

By Jonathan Fulwell (Source: AFP)

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