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France

Govt expected to OK questioning of scandal-plagued Woerth

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-21

The French cabinet is expected to approve prosecutor’s request to question scandal-plagued Labour Minister Eric Woerth Wednesday over allegations of corruption related to political campaign donations from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

AP - Prosecutors have asked the French Cabinet for permission to question the labor minister in an investigation involving the finances of the heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics fortune.

The prosecutor's office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre said Tuesday it wants to question Eric Woerth, and President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said the Cabinet would discuss the request Wednesday. [Editor’s note: Government spokesman Luc Chatel said on Wednesday that the Cabinet will authorise will authorise Woerth’s questioning to “shed light on the case.”]

Woerth, who denies any wrongdoing, has said he is eager to speak to investigators to clear his name.

Heiress Liliane Bettencourt is in a legal dispute with her daughter that has led to allegations of tax evasion and illegal financing of Sarkozy's conservative party in the run-up to the 2007 presidential election.

Prosecutors are investigating several facets of the complex case.

Woerth's wife worked as an investment adviser for Bettencourt until recently. The couple have denied any conflict of interest, and a French financial inspection agency has said Woerth did not intervene in Bettencourt's tax files.

Woerth has long been treasurer of Sarkozy's party, but he has submitted his resignation, which will be effective at the end of July.

Date created : 2010-07-20

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