Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bettencourt affair: the intimate Banier convicted for abuse of weakness – Le Point

The photographer François-Marie Banier, a former confidant of Liliane Bettencourt, was sentenced Wednesday for “abuse of weakness” at the expense of billionaire by the Bordeaux Court of Appeal, however, pronounced lighter sentences than first instance.

François-Marie Banier, 69, was sentenced to four years in prison sentence and 375,000 euro fine. At trial in May 2015, he was sentenced to three years in prison, six months suspended sentence and 350,000 euro fine. He was also ordered to pay 158 million euros in damages to the heiress of L’Oréal, that the Court of Appeal reversed.

In this final page of the main flap the sprawling Bettencourt, dealing with “abuse of weakness”, a rain of donations, gifts and bequests made to the richest woman in France –aujourd’hui 93 years old and under tutelle– four men were retried, eight convicted at trial.

The companion Banier, Martin d’Orgeval, 42, convicted of “abuse of weakness” and concealment, saw his sentence Wednesday of first instance confirmed at 18 months suspended prison sentence and 150,000 euro fine.

The lawyer Pascal Wilhelm, 55, was sentenced to twelve months suspended prison sentence and 250,000 euro fine for abuse of weakness complicity a lesser sentence than the trial where he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, with one year suspended, and the same fine. By cons, it must pay 3 million euros via Liliane Bettencourt guardian Olivier Pelat, ruled the Court of Appeal

-. Banier “keeps millions” –

Finally Patrice Bonduelle, notary 54 initially sentenced to six months suspended prison sentence and 80,000 euro fine for abuse of weakness complicity, was released.

The convicts present at hearing Wednesday showed no particular emotion to the statement of decision. François-Marie Banier and Martin d’Orgeval then left the court through a back exit, avoiding the press.

The defense lawyers expressed their perplexity to a stop “full of contradictions”, as ‘said Mr. Laurent Merlet, lawyer of the photographer: “at the time we condemn the abuse of weakness but we consider (…) there is no condemnation to pronounce in terms of damages.” That is to say that under a pacification settlement reached in 2010, François-Marie Banier “keeps millions, according to the will of his friend” Liliane, said the lawyer.

– A “offender” –

me Arnaud Dupin, lawyer of Liliane Bettencourt, has mostly retained the conviction. “Today there is an offender who is called François-Marie Banier. It has not benefited from the largesse of Liliane Bettencourt, he abused an old lady.” “This is the second court decision is that these men have abused his weakness. The incident is closed, it is the end of history,” he said.

End of story? A pan is still playing in Paris. In a procedure following a complaint by the photographer, the only daughter of the billionaire, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, was indicted on July 7 to “witness tampering” in respect of a loan of € 300,000 granted to the former accountant of his mother, Claire Thibout, main prosecution witness in the case. She herself was under investigation for “perjury”.

“The case continues in Paris and (Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers) will have to explain,” he told me Merlet.

the Bettencourt affair had started in late 2007 by a complaint for “abuse of weakness” filed by Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, the confidant to his mother.

The case had then threatened to turn the affair of state after the broadcast of clandestine recordings made by Bettencourt to Liliane his butler, Pascal Bonnefoy, that revealed tax evasion in Bettencourt and suggested political interference in the judicial process. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy, indicted, had finally received a dismissal.

Schedule pane for “influence peddling” was closed in 2015 with the release of former Minister Eric Woerth and the former manager of the fortune of billionaire, Patrice de Maistre. Which has also been condemned for “abuse of weakness”.

Two other components, one for “breach of confidentiality” and one for “invasion of privacy of private life” , should be retried in Bordeaux. Meanwhile, Pascal Bonnefoy was indicted in another folder for “invasion of privacy of privacy” at the expense of François-Marie Banier

08/24/2016 5:45:37 p.m.. – Bordeaux (AFP) – AFP © 2016


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