Liliane Bettencourt, The World's Richest Woman, Dead At 94


The world’s richest woman, Lilane Bettencourt, died this Thursday at the age of 94. She was the heiress to the L’Oréal cosmetics dynasty, worth billions upon billions of dollars. Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, the daughter of Liliane Bettencourt, confirmed her mother’s passing with French media. The 64-year-old daughter said that her mother passed “peacefully” overnight at her home in France on Wednesday.
The L’Oréal group owns numerous beauty brands, including Maybelline, Lancôme and Kiehls.
“We all had a great admiration for Liliane Bettencourt who always looked after L’Oréal, the company and its employees, and was very attached to its success and development,” said Jean Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L’Oréal Group, in a statement. “She has personally contributed greatly to its success for many years.”
In 2007, Bettencourt was involved in controversial criminal case known as l’affaire Bettencourt. That year, her old child, Bettencourt-Meyers, accused her mother’s friend of taking advantage of an elderly woman. The criminal complaint states that Bettencourt had given her friend François-Marie Banier billions of dollars worth of gifts, and he had suggested that she should adopt him.
As a result of the trial, Banier and several others, including business associates and lawyers were found guilty of exploiting Bettencourt. The French completely sided with plaintiff, who said the defendants were exploiting Bettencourt who was suffering with Alzheimer disease. Banier was then fined and given a prison sentence.
Then-President Nicholas Sarkozy even found himself caught up in l’affaire Bettencourt when accusations from an upset employee and secretly recorded tapes demonstrated that Sarkozy may have been benefiting from Bettencourt’s wealth as well. This scandal helped his François Holland defeat Sarkozy, despite the former president denying any wrongdoing in the scandal.
Bettencourt was also known for her philanthropy works, donating millions of dollars to education, museum, and medical research.

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