By  on July 1, 2010

PARIS — The criminal court in Nanterre, France, on Thursday ordered that supplementary information be gathered before setting the trial date for the case pitting Françoise Bettencourt Meyers against photographer François-Marie Banier. The hearing had originally been slated to start Thursday and run through Tuesday, but the ruling delayed the proceedings.

Just hours later, the public prosecutor of Nanterre appealed the criminal court’s decision.

Bettencourt Meyers brought the lawsuit against Banier in December 2007. She alleges Banier’s “exploitation of weakness” of her 87-year-old mother, Liliane Bettencourt, who gave him assets valued at about 1 billion euros, or $1.24 billion at current exchange. Bettencourt, the daughter of L’Oréal’s founder, argues she is sound and acting on her own free will.

The decision regarding the trial was handed down after a two-hour hearing.

The public prosecutor’s appeal is predicated on the criminal court not having indicated in its decision the “perimeter” of the supplementary information requested. Further, there’s the fact that a preliminary investigation is already under way regarding the source of 28 CDs-worth of secretly recorded discussions — spanning one year — among Bettencourt and her advisers.

The public prosecutor in mid-June opened an inquiry for “infringement of privacy” after police received the recordings. Bettencourt Meyers, who was given the clandestine tapes made by her mother’s former butler, turned the recordings over to the police.

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