French judge gives L'Oreal heiress's daughter control

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 17, 2011 6:28 AM
French judge gives L'Oreal heiress's daughter control

COURBEVOIE, France (Reuters) - L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt's daughter won control over her mother's business affairs Monday, the daughter's lawyer said, almost two years after she first asked to take over on the grounds her mother had been exploited.

The judge's ruling means that the billionaire's wealth and revenues -- including the 88-year old's 30 percent stake in L'Oreal -- will now be managed by her daughter Francoise Meyers-Bettencourt and her children.

Liliane Bettencourt's lawyer said he planned to appeal. "It is a decision that is deeply disappointing that I will find hard to inform Mrs Bettencourt about," he said.

Bettencourt and her daughter declared a truce in December in a long-running legal feud, during which Meyers-Bettencourt withdrew her request to have her mother placed under the supervision of a guardian, and the two made a show of unity.

The dispute, which sparked investigations into allegations, denied by Bettencourt, of tax evasion and illegal funding of ruling UMP party members, reignited in the summer when Bettencourt said her daughter needed to seek psychological help.

Doctors had advised appointing a guardian in June, but that request was dismissed on a technicality after an appeals court said the request was invalid.

At the end of August French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office denied allegations published in a national newspaper he was handed cash by the L'Oreal heiress for his 2007 election campaign.

(Reporting by Thierry Leveque; writing by John Irish; editing by Daniel Flynn; editing by Philippa Fletcher)