By  on November 5, 2010

PARIS — New twists have entered into the already tangled web that is the Bettencourt affair.

On Wednesday, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers launched legal proceedings against Patrice de Maistre, the financial adviser of her 88-year-old mother, Liliane Bettencourt, and Fabrice Goguel, Bettencourt’s former tax lawyer. Bettencourt Meyers claims the two men —plus photographer François-Marie Banier — have abused the weakness of Bettencourt, the L’Oréal heiress.

Bettencourt Meyers filed an initial complaint against Banier in December 2007. She alleges Banier abused the weakness of Bettencourt, who gave him assets valued at about 1 billion euros, or $1.42 billion at current exchange. Banier has denied any wrongdoing, while Bettencourt has maintained she is sound and acting on her own free will.

On Nov. 25, the court in Nanterre, France, which is presided over by judge Isabelle Prévost-Desprez, is expected to discuss Bettencourt Meyers’ recent allegations and possibly fix a date for a hearing for Banier, de Maistre and Goguel.

Last week, Philippe Ingall-Montanier, the public prosecutor of Versailles, France, kicked off a procedure to have the dossiers related to the Bettencourt affair be ultimately moved out of Nanterre. It’s the auspices of two dueling magistrates: Prévost-Desprez and government-appointed prosecutor Philippe Courroye.

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