Nanterre (France): French judges on Thursday began
weighing the impact of stunning new evidence as they probed
whether the country`s richest woman fell prey to a schemer
when she gave him USD 1.2 billion in gifts.
Judges were considering whether the trial should be
postponed to give officials time to study the new evidence:
Secret recordings by the butler of the heiress to the L`Oreal
SA cosmetics fortune, recordings that have embroiled France`s
The legal battle has pitted billionaire heiress Liliane
Bettencourt against her only child. Her daughter, Francoise
Bettencourt-Meyers, says a charming photographer manipulated
her mentally weak 87-year-old mother into handing him part of
In the trial, which opened today in the Paris suburb of
Nanterre, celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier is
accused of exploitation and risks three years of prison, a
fine and being ordered to give back the gifts.