PARIS — L’Oréal on Sunday had no comment about press reports swirling in France over the weekend that photographer François-Marie Banier is not the only person to have received financial gifts from Liliane Bettencourt, the daughter of the beauty giant’s founder, who holds 30 percent of the company.
This story first appeared in the December 7, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Two French newspapers, Le Figaro and Le Journal du Dimanche, over the weekend cited court documents in which Banier is said to have told authorities that Bettencourt had given gifts to a number of other people. According to reports of Banier’s statement, Lindsay Owen-Jones and François Dalle, the two former heads of L’Oréal, were given 100 million euros, or $148.8 million at current exchange, and 8 percent of the firm’s shares as a reward for building the company into the industry leader.
Banier is involved in an ongoing legal wrangle pitting him against Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, Liliane Bettencourt’s daughter. In December 2007, Bettencourt Meyers lodged a complaint in the public prosecutor’s office of Nanterre, France, for “exploitation of weakness” of her mother. This followed Bettencourt giving Banier gifts of almost 1 billion euros, or $1.49 billion.
On Sept. 3, a preliminary hearing took place in Nanterre and, last week, Bettencourt Meyers applied to a guardianship judge to obtain legal protection for her mother. A second hearing is schedule for Friday.