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L?Oreal heiress loses appeal

By Giulia Cambieri

Liliane Bettencourt, the only child of L’Oreal founder Eugene Schueller, will continue to be under the protection of her family after losing an appeal to remove her estranged daughter and her two grandsons as her physical and financial guardians.

On 18 January, a French court rejected Bettencourt’s request to overturn an October ruling that said the heiress suffers from "mixed dementia" and "modestly severe” Alzheimer’s.

Considered unable to manage her own affairs, the 89-year old, who is France’s richest woman with a fortune estimated at €15 billion, was put under the care of her family.

Jean-Victor Meyers, the woman’s eldest and favourite grandson, was chosen to oversee her health and personal wellbeing, while both of her grandsons and daughter, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, were named as guardians of the family’s fortune, which includes a 31% stake in the world’s largest cosmetics company.

The decision is the latest in a longstanding feud between Bettencourt and her only daughter.

The conflict started in 2007, when Bettencourt-Meyers accused her mother’s entourage of manipulating the family business heiress. Celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier was accused of taking advantage of Bettencourt to receive about €1 billion worth of gifts.

In November, Bettencourt’s attempt to have the eldest grandson named as her only guardian was also rejected.

While Bettencourt does not sit on L’Oreal's board anymore, the family controls the Clichy, France-based group, which in 2010 had revenues of €19.5 billion, through their holding company Tethys.