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Bettencourt investigation finally winds up amid insults and death threats

April 1, 2013 | By Michel Deléan

The long-running judicial investigations into suspected criminal activity surrounding the affairs of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, centred on money-laundering, illegal political funding, fraud, tax evasion, influence peddling and profiteering from the billionaire’s frail mental condition, finally came to a close on March 28th, exactly one week after former president Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under investigation in the case on the basis of “serious or concordant” evidence that he “abused” Bettencourt’s diminished mental faculties. Michel Deléan reports on the winding up of an investigation that will in all probability lead to one of the most spectacular corruption trials in recent French history, set against a backdrop of high-society drama and deep political intrigue.

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The long-running judicial investigations into suspected criminal activity surrounding the affairs of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, centred on money-laundering, illegal political funding, fraud, tax evasion, influence peddling and profiteering from the billionaire’s frail mental condition, finally came to a close on March 28th, exactly one week after former president Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under investigation in the case on the basis of “serious or concordant” evidence that he “abused” Bettencourt’s diminished mental faculties.