Society Photographer Guilty of Swindling L'Oreal Heiress

A society photographer was on Thursday sentenced to three years in prison for bamboozling Liliane Bettencourt, heir to the L’Oréal cosmetics empire and France’s wealthiest woman, out of hundreds of millions of pounds.
A string of her former advisers were also convicted but the Bordeaux court cleared Eric Woerth, Nicolas Sarkozy’s former presidential campaign treasurer and budget minister, of taking donations of cash from Mrs Bettencourt before Mr Sarkozy’s 2007 election. Mr Woerth was also cleared of charges of influence-peddling.
Photographer François-Marie Banier, 67, former “confidant” of the ailing Mrs Bettencourt – who once said he was the only man who made her laugh – was found guilty of “abusing the weakness” of the doyenne, now 92 and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Banier was sentenced to three years in prison, with six months suspended, a £250,000 fine and £100 million in damages.



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