The richest woman in the world, Liliane Bettencourt, has passed away, leaving behind a net worth worth tens of billions. Bettencourt was the heiress to the L’Oréal cosmetics dynasty. She was born in Paris, France, as the only child. Growing up without any siblings assured that Bettencourt would walk away with the family fortune, and live to be an obscenely rich woman.
But how rich exactly? What is an obscene amount of money?
Liliane Bettencourt’s Net Worth as of 2017: $44.3 Billion
According to Bettencourt’s family estimate, the world’s richest woman’s net worth rings in at an incredible $44.3 billion. She inherited the L’Oréal fortune when he father died, crowning his daughter as principal shareholder of the company. Bettencourt feared that France would nationalize its economy, so she sold nearly half of her stake in L’Oréal for a 3 percent stake in Nestlé S.A. By 2012, she owned 185,661,879 (30.5%) of the outstanding shares of L’Oréal.
Let’s take a look at the late Liliane Bettencourt’s life and road to riches…
1957 – 2007
Obviously when he father passed, a lifetime of wealth just fell into the lap of Liliane Bettencourt. At the time, she was married to a Nazi-sympathizer, French politician by the name of André Bettencourt. She stayed with him from their marriage in 1950 to his death on November 19, 2007. Liliane’s father was also a Nazi sympathizer. André Bettencourt was part of the violent French fascist pro-Nazi group known as La Cagoule, who Liliane’s father funded in the 1930s.
Despite her shady upbringing, Liliane has used some of her fortune for good causes, as she has donated millions of dollars for museums, education, and medical research.
2007 – Present
In 2007, Liliane Bettencourt was involved in controversial criminal case known as l’affaire Bettencourt. That year, her old child, Bettencourt-Meyers, accused her mother’s friend of taking advantage of an elderly woman. The criminal complaint states that Bettencourt had given her friend François-Marie Banier billions of dollars worth of gifts, and he had suggested that she should adopt him.
As a result of the trial, Banier and several others, including business associates and lawyers were found guilty of exploiting Bettencourt. The French completely sided with plaintiff, who said the defendants were exploiting Bettencourt who was suffering with Alzheimer disease. Banier was then fined and given a prison sentence.
Then-President Nicholas Sarkozy even found himself caught up in l’affaire Bettencourt when accusations from an upset employee and secretly recorded tapes demonstrated that Sarkozy may have been benefiting from Bettencourt’s wealth as well. This scandal helped his François Holland defeat Sarkozy, despite the former president denying any wrongdoing in the scandal.
The world’s richest woman passed away “peacefully” at the age of 94 at her home in France.