The headline splashed across the front page of Le Monde’s Thursday edition reads “La guérilla judiciare reprend au sein de la famille Bettencourt,” which translates as “The Judicial Warfare Resumes Within the Bettencourt Family.” Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the daughter of L’Oréal’s largest individual shareholder, Liliane Bettencourt, and her sons reportedly contacted the guardianship judge in the Paris suburb of Courbevoie on June 7 to grant 88-year-old Bettencourt a measure of judicial protection. It’s said that Bettencourt Meyers believes her mother is still prey to people looking to profit from her ill health, particularly Bettencourt’s lawyer, Pascal Wilhelm.
Both the office of Olivier Metzner, Bettencourt Meyers’ lawyer, and the court of first instance in Courbevoie had no comment Wednesday on the reports.
This story first appeared in the June 9, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Bettencourt Meyers sought guardianship protection for her mother numerous times during the Bettencourt affair, which began in December 2007, when Bettencourt Meyers brought a lawsuit against photographer François-Marie Banier. She alleged Banier exploited the weakness of Bettencourt, who gave him assets valued at about 1 billion euros, or $1.46 billion at current exchange. In December 2010, the saga, which had boiled into an affair of state, ended when the mother and daughter — who abandoned all the legal proceedings they had initiated in the family feud — reconciled. Since then, Wilhelm has handled Bettencourt’s affairs.
French judges continue to investigate several criminal allegations that sprang from the Bettencourt scandal. The cases were transferred to Bordeaux, France, from the Paris suburb of Nanterre last November in the interest of securing a fairer hearing.