Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Crossing a red line: French mayor slammed for profiling Muslim students

Read more

DEBATE

Down to the wire: UK election poll shows main parties neck and neck

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'A Thousand Times Goodnight', 'My Old Lady' and 'Titli'

Read more

FOCUS

UK election: Health system a key issue in Wales

Read more

FACE-OFF

Le Pen vs Le Pen: France's far-right family feud turns epic

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Saudi Arabia: Behind the royal family reshuffle

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Oil industry cuts an election issue in Scotland

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Iran bans 'homosexual' and 'devil-worshipping' hairstyles

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Hollande draws criticism on third anniversary of his presidency

Read more

France

Police release l'Oreal quartet after two days of questioning

Video by Siobhán SILKE , Elena CASAS

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-17

Four associates of l'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, including her financial adviser Patrice de Maistre, have been released after they were questioned by police for 36 hours in connection with a tax fraud scandal that has rocked the government.

AFP - French police released four associates of France's richest woman Friday after questioning them as part of a probe into a tax scandal that has rocked the government.
   
Investigators probing the affairs of L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt had detained her financial advisor Patrice de Maistre and celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier since Thursday.
   

Judges also questioned Bettencourt's former tax lawyer Fabrice Goguel and Carlos Vejarano, manager of a Seychelles island, which Bettencourt allegedly owns and used as a tax haven.
   
They were released after approximately 36 hours: 12 hours short of the 48 hours they could have held them before deciding whether to press charges.
   
De Maistre has been accused in media reports based on secretly recorded conversations of overseeing a bid to evade French tax.
   
Bettencourt's daughter accuses Banier of using his influence over her mother to obtain nearly a billion euros in gifts.
   
There was no indication from investigators as to whether any charges would be laid against anyone.
   
Banier and Vejarano were seen driving away in separate cars from the offices of the financial police in Paris.
   
Police have opened three investigations involving Bettencourt, following allegations of tax evasion and of illegal donations to President Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign -- charges that all parties have denied.
   

Earlier Friday, former investigating magistrate Eva Joly, now a European deputy with Europe Ecologie, called for the prosecutor handling the case to upgrade the probe by assigning an investigating magistrate.
   
"The investigation cannot go anywhere in its current procedural format," she warned in an interview with Europe 1 radio.
   
The questions that needed answering required the powers of an investigating magistrate, the only official with the power to formally request information abroad, she said.

Date created : 2010-07-16

  • FRANCE

    Police arrest four as L’Oreal scandal escalates

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Police conduct new searches as Bettencourt probe intensifies

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Government and media on a collision course over Bettencourt scandal

    Read more

COMMENT(S)