The tentacular Bettencourt affair, from high-society feud to affair of state


The Bettencourt affair has reached an unprecedented scope among the many scandals that have rocked France in recent decades. As a judicial ruling ordering the censorship of Mediapart’s reporting of the scandal kicks in this Monday evening, Michel Deléan dresses a summary of the  judicial investigations into the affair which, over the past three years, have exposed a bed of political corruption and influence peddling, a record back payment in taxes on assets secretly stashed abroad, not to mention the outrageous antics of a high-society cabal and the sordid exploitation of one of Europe’s wealthiest individuals.

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What has become known as the Bettencourt affair, a far-reaching story of corruption surrounding the finances of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, is one of the most damaging scandals for France's political and social elite to have emerged in recent years.