Coupon
The Bettencourt Affair : The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris
by Tom Sancton


Overview - Heiress to the nearly forty-billion-dollar L'Oreal fortune, Liliane Bettencourt is the world's richest woman and the fourteenth wealthiest person. But her gilded life has taken a dark yet fascinating turn in the past decade. At ninety-four, she's now embroiled in what has been called the Bettencourt Affair, a scandal that dominated the headlines in France.  Read more...

 
Hardcover
  • Retail Price: $28.00
  • $19.76
    (Save 29%)

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

In Stock Online.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
 
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

 
 
New & Used Marketplace 26 copies from $13.59
 
Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 

More About The Bettencourt Affair by Tom Sancton
 
 
 
Overview
Heiress to the nearly forty-billion-dollar L'Oreal fortune, Liliane Bettencourt is the world's richest woman and the fourteenth wealthiest person. But her gilded life has taken a dark yet fascinating turn in the past decade. At ninety-four, she's now embroiled in what has been called the Bettencourt Affair, a scandal that dominated the headlines in France. Why? It's a tangled web of hidden secrets, divided loyalties, frayed relationships, and fractured families, set in the most romantic city--and involving the most glamorous industry--in the world.

The Bettencourt Affair started as a family drama but quickly became a massive scandal, uncovering L'Oreal's shadowy corporate history and buried World War II secrets. From the Right Bank mansions to the Left Bank artist havens; and from the Bettencourts' servant quarters to the office of President Nicolas Sarkozy; all of Paris was shaken by the blockbuster case, the shocking reversals, and the surprising final victim.

It all began when Liliane met Francois-Marie Banier, an artist and photographer who was, in his youth, the toast of Paris and a protege of Salvador Dali. Over the next two decades, Banier was given hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts, cash, and insurance policies by Liliane. What, exactly, was their relationship? It wasn't clear, least of all to Liliane's daughter and only child, Francoise, who became suspicious of Banier's motives and filed a lawsuit against him. But Banier has a far different story to tell...

The Bettencourt Affair is part courtroom drama; part upstairs-downstairs tale; and part characterdriven story of a complex, fascinating family and the intruder who nearly tore it apart.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781101984475
  • ISBN-10: 1101984473
  • Publisher: Dutton Books
  • Publish Date: August 2017
  • Page Count: 416
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.35 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Rich & Famous
Books > Business & Economics > Corporate & Business History - General
Books > History > Modern - 20th Century

 
BookPage Reviews

The heiress and the photographer

The butler did it (or at least, he lit the fire, by taping more than 20 hours of incriminating conversations). And that’s just the first of the many apt clichés about a scandal that has gripped France for a decade.

The story of this convoluted war of wills (pun intended), told with skill by former Time Paris bureau chief Tom Sancton in The Bettencourt Affair, features a cast of characters pulled straight from a Tolstoy novel: L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, the $40 billion-dollar woman; her only child, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, vying for control of her mother’s life (and her money); and the flamboyant, brash photographer François-Marie Banier who, over the course of a quarter-century, befriended the likes of Truman Capote and Salvador Dalí and then insinuated himself into hundreds of millions of the Bettencourt’s fortune.

Nearly deaf since childhood and married to a respectable but acquiescent diplomat, Liliane delighted in Banier’s theatrical manner and his artistic aspirations, lavishing upon him artworks by Picasso and Matisse, insurance policies and cash gifts; she even reportedly considered adopting him. But her family and staff believed he was taking advantage of her age and increasing mental frailty, which was the crux of her daughter’s lawsuit against Banier.

In the end, the lawsuit revealed political hand-offs, money laundering, Swiss and offshore accounts, as well as Fascist and Nazi collaboration. The entire ordeal is known in France as l’affair Bettencourt, which culminated in years of prosecutorial expense, suicides and the downfall of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and several ministers and judges.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews