Keyword: Claire Thibout

After Bettencourt – why France's justice system urgently needs reform

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One of the greatest political-financial scandals of France's Fifth Republic has been reduced to the level of just another human interest story of money and greed. The verdicts handed down by the courts in the Bettencourt affair on Thursday – in particular the acquittals of former budget minister Éric Woerth – have stripped the scandal of its powerful political dimension. In doing so, argues Mediapart's editor François Bonnet, France's malfunctioning justice system, dependant as it is on its political masters, has shown yet again that it is suffering from a profound malaise.

French judge stands by Bettencourt-Sarkozy 'campaign cash' whistleblower

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Claire Thibout © Reuters Claire Thibout © Reuters

A judicial investigation into the suspected illegal financing of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election bid has finally vindicated the testimony of Claire Thibout (pictured), an accountant for L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt who first revealed in a 2010 interview with Mediapart  how vast cash withdrawals from the billionaire’s bank accounts were made shortly before meetings between Bettencourt’s wealth manager and Sarkozy’s campaign treasurer. Karl Laske reports on the latest developments in the investigation, in which Sarkozy is expected to be questioned in the coming weeks.

Dinners, cash and Sarkozy: what Bettencourt's accountant told Mediapart

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Claire Thibout, after her Mediapart interview, on French TV channel France 2. Claire Thibout, after her Mediapart interview, on French TV channel France 2.

Claire Thibout is a former accountant to L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and Clymène, the company that manages the billionaire's wealth. Her exclusive interview with Mediapart this summer, reproduced here in English, had the effect of a political bombshell in France. Thibout notably alleged that numerous French politicians, including Nicolas Sarkozy, pocketed gifts of cash-stuffed envelopes during their visits to the Bettencourt home.