Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Music show: Chiara Civello, Jay-Z and Beyoncé & Solidays festival

Read more

FOCUS

How corruption has damaged Armenia's environment

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Changing FARC peace deal would be a huge historical error for Colombia'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

EU ombudsman: 'Just raising an issue can be sufficient to change things'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Trouble in the eurozone: New Italian government puts pressure on establishment

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Celebrations after Mexico's win against Germany prompts 'fan-made' earthquake

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

France's Basque country, where singing is sacred

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Charitable donations: 'By 2024, we believe giving will be the norm'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Ex-Carrefour boss urged to give up €13 million retirement package

Read more

France

New probe into minister’s role in Bettencourt scandal

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-30

A French prosecutor has launched a new inquiry into Labour Minister Eric Woerth's role in the tax affairs of a L'Oreal heiress and allegations that he was treated with favouritism in a land deal. Woerth was cleared in the L'Oreal affair in July.

REUTERS - A senior French prosecutor is investigating Labour Minister Eric Woerth's role in the tax affairs of L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and his alleged favouritism in a land deal, a source close to the prosecutor said on Sunday.

Jean-Louis Nadal has also written to Budget Minster Francois Baroin asking to see an official report that cleared Woerth in July of interference in the billionaire heiress's tax affairs, the source added.

If Nadal finds evidence of wrongdoing, he could refer the case

WOERTH'S REACTION IN FRENCH NEWSPAPER LE PARISIEN

“It’s like a hunting expedition, except I am playing the role of the deer,” said Labour Minister Eric Woerth in an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien. “I haven’t seen a campaign against a politician as this one since the Markovic affair,” he remarked, referring to a 1969 controversy surrounding then-President Georges Pompidou’s alleged connection to the death of the bodyguard of famous actor Alain Delon. “All this madness is meant to kill,” added Woerth.

to a special court that hears cases against ministers accused of crimes committed while in office.

Woerth's wife Florence worked for Bettencourt's wealth manager at a time when her husband was budget minister in charge of a crackdown on tax evasion.

The labour minister, who is trying to push an unpopular pension reform through parliament next month, denies any improper behaviour and has rejected Socialist accusations of a conflict of interest over his wife's job.

Woerth also denies any wrong-doing relating to the sale of a piece of the Compiegne forest in his Oise constituency, and his lawyer said the minister had no case to answer over any of the allegations.

"To refer a case to the (court for ministers), you have to identify in a credible way a crime committed by a minister," Woerth's lawyer, Jean-Yves Leborgne, said on Sunday, dismissing the latest development as a "non-event".


Woerth, a close ally of President Nicolas Sarkozy, has also denied separate allegations that he received illegal donations from Bettencourt during his time as treasurer of the ruling conservative UMP party.

Bettencourt's financial affairs burst into the public arena following a family feud over lavish gifts by the billionaire heiress to close friend and society photographer Francois-Marie Banier.

The Le Monde newspaper at the weekend quoted Liliane Bettencourt's lawyer Georges Kiejman as saying she had removed Banier as sole heir from her will.

Bettencourt, who owns 31 percent of luxury cosmetics group L'Oreal, "has realised that enough is enough and that she had given Banier a lot", Kiejman told Le Monde.

 

Date created : 2010-08-30

  • FRANCE

    Embattled minister faces new fraud accusations

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Embattled Woerth 'used position' to secure tax break for artist legacy

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Questioned by police, Labour Minister denies wrongdoing

    Read more

COMMENT(S)