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Bettencourt family row leads to an affair of state

Bettencourt family row leads to an affair of state
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The politician at the centre of the Bettencourt scandal remains French Labour Minister Eric Woerth.
Now it is claimed that he, as treasurer of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign, took delivery of an illegal Bettencourt donation.
Denying any wrongdoing, Woerth told reporters he was shocked.
“I have been treasurer of my party for the past eight years. I have nothing to feel guilty about,“ he said.
An affair of state has emerged from what started as a Bettencourt family dispute. Liliane’s daughter Francoise claims her mother was coerced by a society photographer into giving him cash and gifts to the tune of one billion euros.
Francois-Marie Banier, who has found himself on trial over the allegations, rejects any suggestion he took advantage of the L’Oreal heiress. The 87-year-old insists she is not mentally impaired.
Her financial adviser Patrice de Maistre denies claims he handed illegal Sarkozy campaign cash to
Eric Woerth. Complicating things further, until recently, Woerth’s wife Florence worked for a fund managing Bettencourt’s fortune.
Today’s claims by an ex-bookeeper for the billionairess follow sensational secret tape recordings allegedly revealing she plotted to dodge taxes. Critics maintain Eric Woerth, formerly Sarkozy’s Budget Minister, must have known about Bettencourt’s financial affairs.