The scandal engulfing the French L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt has moved closer to the government of Nicolas Sarkozy.
The French Labour Minister Eric Woerth has been questioned by investigators looking into a complex case that includes allegations of tax evasion and money laundering.
There are also claims of illegal party funding and conflicts of interest. Woerth’s wife used to be employed by Bettencourt’s wealth manager.
Sarkozy has also been forced to deny claims that 87-year-old Bettencourt made illegal donations to his 2007 election campaign.
The scandal originally surfaced as a result of a lawsuit filled by Bettencourt’s estranged daughter. She is suing a celebrity photographer for allegedly exploiting her mother’s mental fragility to gain access to her fortune.
Secret recordings made by the family butler were leaked to the media last month