L’Oreal Heiress Says, “Because He’s Worth It”
In an interesting mother-daughter row developing in France, the daughter of Liliane Bettencourt—one of the world’s wealthiest women, a renowned philanthropist, and L’Oréal’s chief shareholder—is challenging her mother’s mental capacity as reports have surfaced about life insurance policies worth nearly €1 billion taken out by the senior Ms. Bettencourt. The policies in question would not benefit Mme. Bettencourt’s daughter Françoise but, rather scandalously, are designated for a photographer, artist, and author she has befriended. The shutterbug in question, one François-Marie Banier, who counts Johnny Depp and Princess Caroline of Monaco among his friends, has become like Ms. Bettencourt’s adopted son, according to a report in the Independent. Despite her daughter’s cries of injustice—and senility—the 86-year-old seems to be fairly lucid. When questioned by investigators, she not only confirmed the existence of the insurance policies but said that she “knew exactly what she was doing and could ‘sponsor’ whomever she liked.” Donating a few Picasso paintings from her private collection to M. Banier was also apparently part of this sponsorship deal, which makes us more than a little curious as to how we might get in on a similar program.