L’Oreal heiress to go under guardianship

L’Oreal heiress to go under guardianship

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
L’Oreal heiress to go under guardianship

A court decides France’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, to be put under guardianship of her family. AFP photo

L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, 88, is to be placed under the guardianship of family members, the lawyer of her estranged daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers said yesterday after a court hearing.

Bettencourt, whose mental health is reportedly declining, will be placed under a grandson’s guardianship and her wealth and property under that of her daughter Francoise and two grandsons, Charlotte Robbe-Phan said.

Bettencourt is on L’Oreal’s board of directors but since family members are to be her guardians, the court’s decision should have little impact on the running of the cosmetics giant.

Bettencourt’s lawyer Jean-Rene Farthouat said he would appeal the court’s ruling, which remained in place pending the appeal process.

The Bettencourt mother and daughter have been at the center of a feud over the fate of France’s third-largest family fortune.

Le Monde yesterday quoted a medical report for use by the court as saying that Bettencourt was suffering from “mixed dementia” and “moderately severe” Alzheimer’s disease.

Bettencourt “suffers from cognitive difficulties evidenced by temporal disorientation, memory problems, reasoning difficulties and aphasic elements,” Le Monde quoted the report as saying.

Bettencourt-Meyers has argued that her mother is mentally unfit to manage her estimated 16 billion euros ($20 billion) fortune.

She has alleged that people close to her mother, including celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier, took advantage of the heiress.