The New York Times writes about litigation surrounding one of the wealthiest women in the world, Liliane Bettencourt, the 92-year old heir to the to the L’Oréal cosmetics fortune. According to the article, as Ms. Bettencourt aged and her health faded, she became the target of numerous attempts by individuals to take advantage of her diminished capacity. The article begins as follows:
LBORDEAUX, France — For five weeks, a French version of “Downton Abbey” has been unfolding in a courtroom here, providing a rare glimpse into the discreet lives of the ultrarich.
The real-life drama, set in an Art Moderne mansion in Neuilly-sur-Seine, an exclusive town west of Paris, features a cast that includes long-serving chambermaids, cooks and butlers who tended to one of the world’s richest women, whom they call “Madame.” There are also high-powered lawyers, advisers and confidants accused of exploiting her fading mental state to plunder cash, artworks, life insurance and a private Seychelles island.
The woman, Liliane Bettencourt, the 92-year-old heir to the L’Oréal cosmetics fortune, lives in the secluded mansion in the shadows of memory — too frail and deaf to attend the trial.
But she has been very much front and center in the courtroom here in southwestern France, where both her lifestyle and her state of mind have been at the heart of the trial, as prosecutors and defense lawyers paint vastly different portraits of Madame.
Read the full article at In Case of L’Oréal Heiress, a Private World of Wealth Becomes Public – NYTimes.com.