PARIS — L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt has issued a statement following reports that she has given photographer François-Marie Banier gifts of some 1 billion euros, or $1.43 billion at current exchange, causing her daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, to lodge a complaint earlier this year, according to Agence France Presse wire service.
This story first appeared in the December 18, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Madame Liliane Bettencourt will not make any comment following recent articles appearing in the press,” stated her spokesman, according to AFP.
As reported, articles circulating here said Bettencourt, the 86-year-old daughter of L’Oréal’s founder, Eugene Schueller, has given Banier close to 1 billion euros in the form of financial investments and artwork over the years (with the tempo of gift-giving ramping up recently).
In response, Bettencourt Meyers is said to have lodged a complaint for “exploitation of weakness” in the public prosecutor’s office of Nanterre, a Paris suburb, which kicked off a preliminary inquiry.
“[Liliane Bettencourt] would like to reassure her friends of her excellent state of health,” the spokesman reportedly continued.
In other news, L’Oréal USA made a claim that its Excellence Crème provides “superior gray coverage.” That contention was upheld by the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau after Procter & Gamble challenged that the word “superior” meant the L’Oréal product “provides better gray coverage than any of its competitors’ products,” NAD said. NAD considered the term “noncomparative” and that it required substantiation. NAD cited L’Oréal studies in 2002 and 2007 that said 86 percent of women who used the product were “extremely” satisfied and 82 percent of women, respectively, were “extremely” or “very” satisfied with the product.