L'Oreal heiress threatens to leave France over guardianship

15th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Billionaire L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, 88, has threatened in an interview to leave France if her daughter manages to place her under her guardianship.

In the latest volley in the duo's tortuous war of words and lawsuits, Bettencourt told France's Journal du Dimanche Sunday newspaper: "If it's that, I will go abroad. If my daughter looks after me I would feel stifled. If it's her, I will leave."

When asked if she would emigrate to Switzerland, she replied: "No, I no longer ski a lot."

In the latest twist to a very public family feud inside one of France's richest families, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers has once again asked the court to place her mother under guardianship.

Bettencourt-Meyers has argued that her mother is mentally unfit to manage France's largest private fortune estimated at 16 billion euros (20 billion dollars).

A judge in a Courbevoie court near Paris is expected to issue a ruling on the request on October 17.

Bettencourt's lawyer warned in an interview that the heiress was ready for "nuclear war" with her daughter and had asked her lawyers to revoke a reconciliation that the duo struck last year.

"I saw Liliane Bettencourt on Friday, and she is in favour of nuclear war, but we are waiting a bit before taking action," Jean-Rene Farthouat told France's Journal du Dimanche.

Bettencourt-Meyers has alleged people close to her mother, including celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier, took advantage of the heiress, who she claimed was no longer in a fit mental state to manage her fortune.

Banier was Bettencourt's sole named beneficiary in the will drawn up in December 2007.

But Bettencourt broke with Banier earlier this year, cutting him out of her will and depriving him of an estimated 1.25 billion euros.

Mother and daughter have been involved in legal battles for three years.

© 2011 AFP

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