Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is before a court in Bordeaux, France facing allegations that his 2007 campaign received illegal financing from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.
The allegations are that Sarkozy’s campaign received envelopes of cash from Ms. Bettencourt’s funds, which were over the legal limit, and that the monies were transferred without Ms. Bettencourt’s full knowledge or consent. There are also allegations that Ms. Bettencourt’s main assistant withdrew millions of euros from Ms. Bettencourt’s Swiss bank accounts, which may have made their way to Sarkozy’s party coffers.
Ms. Bettencourt, heiress to the L’Oreal cosmetics empire, is France’s richest woman.
The issues of Ms. Bettencourt’s mental capacity are central to the allegations.
There have previously been allegations that Ms. Bettencourt lacked financial capacity. See, for example, our blog entry on guardianship proceedings brought by Ms. Bettencourt’s daughter (http://welpartners.com/blog/?s=bettencourt)
Those guardianship proceedings raised issues of other financial misdealings in which it was alleged that Ms. Bettencourt had been financially taken advantage of. http://www.france24.com/en/20100907-swiss-cooperate-loreal-heiress-investigation-switzerland-bettencourt-france
In an article dated June 9, 2011, France 24 reported that a judge had ruled that “Liliane Bettencourt’s cognitive faculties had been significantly altered by brain disease.” (http://www.france24.com/en/20110608-loreal-heiress-scandal-france-paris-bettencourt-inheritance-court)
In respect of the present allegations, Sarkozy could potentially be charged with “taking advantage of someone in a position of weakness.”
To read the full article on France 24 please click here: http://www.france24.com/en/20121121-sarkozy-questioned-court-loreal-campaign-funding-bettencourt-bordeaux-france