World's richest woman is dead

Frederick Owens
September 22, 2017

Liliane Bettencourt, the world's richest woman, has died, her family said Thursday.

Bettencourt was the heiress of cosmetics giant L'Oreal.

At the time of her death at age 94, Bettencourt was worth about $39.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Schueller, the son of bakers from the eastern Alsace region, initially named his company Aureale, but changed it to L'Oreal in 1939.

"Liliane Bettencourt died last night at home", her daughter Francoise Bettencourt Meyers said in a statement.

Sarkozy's former campaign treasurer, Eric Woerth, was acquitted on charges of "abuse of weakness" and taking donations from Bettencourt during the 2007 presidential election campaign.

Bettencourt was the only child of L'Oreal founder Eugene Schueller, she inherited his fortune following his death in 1957.

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Eight members of Bettencourt's entourage were convicted in May 2015 of fleecing her, including photographer Francois-Marie Banier, who was given a four-year suspended prison sentence on appeal.

He was, before and during World War II, an avowed supporter of La Cagoule, a fascist group linked to Adolf Hitler's Nazi party.

L'Oreal legend has it that Ms Bettencourt was not much loved by her mother, and certainly she was less than enamoured with her own offspring towards the end of her life.

In addition to playing a key role in L'Oreal, Andre Bettencourt later served as a government minister under president Charles de Gaulle.

In recent years, Bettencourt had been under the guardianship of family members, stemming from a famous court case known as the "Bettencourt affair".

L'Oreal is one of the world's biggest cosmetics group with almost 90,000 employees in 140 countries and sales of 25.84 billion euros in 2016. The company owns brands like Lancome, Garnier and La Roche-Posay.

Famed for its "Because you're worth it" advertising campaign, L'Oreal is France's fourth-largest listed firm.

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