Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Should men also be 'liberated from oppressive beachwear'?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Kenyan Government disbands National Olympic Committee over mismanagement

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Burkini Ban: Identity politics go to the beach (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Burkini Ban: Identity politics go to the beach (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Chancellor Merkel's immigration policy faces test on her home turf

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Understanding the burkini ban

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US Treasury lashes out at EU tax probes

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Olympic Hangover: festive mood dampened by gloomy economy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

British professor says 'no shame' in reading romance novels

Read more

France

Sarkozy defends labour minister over L'Oreal heiress scandal

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-27

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come to the defence of Labour Minister Eric Woerth (right), whose wife Florence (left) has been accused of turning a blind eye to tax fraud by L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, France’s wealthiest woman.

AFP - The French government on Sunday rallied around Labour Minister Eric Woerth, who, along with his wife, is embroiled in a political row over tax evasion by France's richest woman.
   
"There is no trace ... of any intervention by Eric Woerth in this affair or in any other," Budget Minister Francois Baroin told Europe 1 radio. "He is a man who has done a lot to fight against fiscal fraud."
   
Patrick Devedjian, the minister for economic recovery, said that critics of Woerth were using "collateral and low attacks" to try to undermine the controversial pension reform he is overseeing.
   
President Nicolas Sarkozy voiced "total" support on Saturday for Woerth, who has denied his wife Florence turned a blind eye to tax evasion as she helped manage Liliane Bettencourt's 16-billion-euro (20-billion-dollar) fortune.
   
Florence Woerth has also vehemently denied being aware of financial fraud on the part of Bettencourt, the 87-year-old heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics empire.
   
Woerth is a rising star in Sarkozy's government who was known as "Mr Clean" and in a previous post as budget minister led a major crackdown on tax evasion.
   
The head of the opposition centrist Modem movement, Francois Bayrou, said Saturday the Bettencourt affair had "weakened" both Woerth and the government.
   
Bettencourt has been at the centre of a political storm since last week when secret tapes revealed she had allegedly conspired to hide money in Swiss bank accounts while making donations to friends in Sarkozy's UMP party.
   
The tapes are the latest twist in a long-running family feud between the billionaire and her daughter, who claims Bettencourt is mentally unfit after she gave more than a billion euros to a photographer friend.

Date created : 2010-06-27

  • FRANCE

    What the butler heard: L’Oreal heiress' tax scandal taints minister

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    L'Oreal billionaire heiress pledges to declare all assets after tax-dodge scandal

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    L'Oreal family feud over one billion euro gifts heads to court

    Read more

COMMENT(S)