France’s richest woman is ‘mentally unfit’ to manage £15bn fortune, rules judge

France’s richest woman threatened to emigrate today after a judge ruled that she was ‘mentally unfit’ to manage her £15 billion fortune.

Liliane Bettencourt, who inherited the L’Oreal cosmetics fortune, was told that she had dementia and Alzheimer’s and is no longer well enough to run her business affairs.

In turn, the 88-year-old said she was fine, and accused her daughter of plotting against her to try and wrestle control of one of the most successful companies in the world.

Mrs Bettencourt, who turns 89 on Friday, is also suspicious of France’s judicial authorities who are investigating her for allegedly giving brown envelopes full of cash to leading politicians in return for tax breaks.

These include President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was once a regular visitor to the Bettencourt household in Neuilly, the upmarket Paris suburb.

Sitting in a court in Courbevoie, in north west Paris, Judge Stephanie Kass-Danno granted the controversial ruling following a petition by Mrs Bettencourt’s daughter, Francoise Bettencourt- Meyers, 58.

Mrs Bettencourt- Meyers had argued that her mother was being negatively influenced by members of her ‘entourage’ to whom she kept handing out money.

But, speaking just before the judge’s decision, Mrs Bettencourt said: ‘If my daughter wins I will go abroad.’


France’s richest woman is ‘mentally unfit’ to manage £15bn fortune, rules judge
-88-year-old L’Oreal heiress accuses daughter of plot
-Family feud, ‘Bettencourt affair’, began in 2007
Peter Allen
October 18, 2011