French court adjourns L'Oreal fraud trial

1st July 2010, Comments 0 comments

A French court on Thursday adjourned indefinitely the trial of a man accused of defrauding L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, in light of sensitive new evidence linking her to a tax scandal.

Celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier is accused by the billionaire's daughter of cheating the ageing cosmetics heiress, France's richest woman, out of a billion euros (1.2 billion dollars).

The court requested more details on evidence that includes secret recordings of Bettencourt talking to her financial advisers, which became public last month, throwing new light on the complex case.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government has been dragged into the scandal amid allegations of conflict of interest targeting Labour Minister Eric Woerth, whose wife worked for a firm managing Bettencourt's estate.

Presiding judge Isabelle Prevost-Desprez told the court in Nanterre, west of Paris, that the trial was postponed so she could carry out a "complementary investigation" into the new evidence.

The court did not set a date for the resumption of the trial.

© 2010 AFP

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