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France's Bettencourt saga takes new twist

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France's Bettencourt saga takes new twist


It’s a French affair that just won’t go away.

The latest twist in the Liliane Bettencourt saga again involves alleged links to France’s Labour Minister Eric Woerth, seen here.

Earlier this month an official report cleared Weorth of using his position to interfere in the tax affairs of the L’Oreal heiress.

But now, Patrice de Maistre, Bettencourt’s wealth manager, has reportedly told police the politician met him to discuss his wife, just before she was hired to help manage the Bettencourt fortune.

Woerth denies any wrongdoing and requesting a job for his spouse. His lawyer Jean-Yves Leborgne said: ‘‘At no moment did he use his position as Budget Minister to favour companies handling the fortune of Madame Bettencourt.’‘

Claims that Bettencourt made illegal cash donations to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP, while Woerth was party treasurer, have also muddied the complex political affair.

Yesterday, four men were released from police custody, including de Maistre, after being questioned over alleged tax evasion and money laundering for the 87-year-old Billionaire.

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