Was the world’s wealthiest woman – Liliane Bettencourt – heir to an estimated $36 billion L’Or’al fortune, the victim of a con man? Or were her own family the real villains? This riveting narrative tells the real-life, shocking story behind the cause c’l’bre that has captivated both France and the world.
Liliane Bettencourt is the world’s richest woman and the 11th wealthiest person on the planet as of 2016. But at 94, she’s embroiled in an incredible controversy that has dominated the headlines and ensnared a former president of France in the controversy. Why? Thanks to an artist and photographer named Fran’ois-Marie Banier, who was given hundreds of millions of dollars by Liliane. Liliane’s daughter, Fran’oise, considers Banier a con man and filed a lawsuit against him, but Banier has a far different story to tell. It’s all become Europe’s biggest scandal in years, uncovering a shadowy corporate history, buried World War II secrets, illicit political payoffs, and much more.
Written by Tom Sancton, a Vanity Fair contributor and former Time correspondent currently living in France, The Bettencourt Affair is part courtroom drama; part upstairs-downstairs tale; part business narrative of a glamorous global company with past Nazi connections; and part character-driven story of a complex, fascinating family and the intruder who nearly tore it apart.