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Former French minister questioned in Bettencourt affair

Eric Woerth at the National Assembly in Paris on 7 February 2012
Eric Woerth at the National Assembly in Paris on 7 February 2012 Reuters/Charles Platiau

A former French minister headed to a Bordeaux court on Wednesday to testify before investigating judges, over his role in an illegal financing campaign by L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. Eric Woerth could be charged with illegally raising campaign funds and taking advantage of Bettencourt.

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Woerth, France’s former labour minister, is accused of having used illegal funds from Bettencourt to help finance President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign.

Dossier - The Bettencourt scandal

Bettencourt’s former accountant, Claire Thibout, has testified that she was asked to provide batches of 150,000 euros to Woerth numerous times in 2007, while he was treasurer of Sarkozy’s UMP party.

After leaving the government in 2010, police lead several searches of Woerth’s home, as well as the UMP office implicated in the case.

Sarkozy has always denied taking illegal sums during his presidential campaign.

Heiress to the L’Oreal cosmetics empire, Bettencourt is France’s wealthiest woman at 88, and is estimated to be worth over 16 billion euros.

 

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