STILL WOERTH IT?: The Bettencourt affair seems to be percolating again. French daily Libération published an interview with Claire Thibout, Liliane Bettencourt’s former accountant, in which she reiterated that in January 2007 Patrice de Maistre, then the L’Oréal heiress’ financial advisor, asked her to withdraw 150,000 euros, or $204,887 at current exchange, in cash. Thibout said he explained the money would be given to Eric Woerth, UMP party treasurer during Nicolas Sarkozy’s French presidential campaign. The sum was above the 7,500 euros, or $10,247, allowed for an individual’s political party donation under French law. Thibout said she withdrew 50,000 euros, or $68,312, and gave the money to Bettencourt, who in turn handed it to de Maistre.

Libération’s Wednesday edition lead with the Thibout story, devoting almost four pages to the Bettencourt affair. It’s a saga that began in December 2007 as a family feud that swelled into an affair of state in July 2010, after an interview with Thibout about the alleged campaign funding was published on French online news service Mediapart. Judges in Bordeaux, France, continue investigating some criminal allegations that sprang from the scandal.

This story first appeared in the September 29, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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