France not to prosecute L'Oreal heiress over taxes: ministry

30th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

French tax authorities said Wednesday they would not pursue criminal charges against L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt over tax evasion after she paid more than 100 million euros.

"Liliane Bettencourt has provided the (tax) administration with all the necessary information, which resulted in a considerable tax adjustment including penalties as foreseen under the law," said the budget ministry.

"The tax administration has not filed criminal charges," it added.

France's richest woman recently paid up more than 100 million euros ($134 million) after being forced to admit tax evasion after secret recordings of conversations between her and her entourage were leaked to the media last year.

Bettencourt cooperated with the tax probe, revealing more 100 million euros in undeclared funds in a dozen bank accounts including in Switzerland and Singapore, as well as an island property in the Seychelles.

Tax dodgers may avoid criminal prosecution in France if they cooperate with the authorities.

The budget ministry said, however, it would continue with a separate probe against Bettencourt for covering up tax fraud.

Lawyers said last month that Bettencourt, 88, was being placed under the guardianship of her relatives after a French court agreed she was no longer mentally fit to manage her fortune, estimated to be worth over 16 billion euros.

© 2011 AFP

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