Minister to be quizzed over Bettencourt scandal
Published 22/07/2010 | 05:00
France's embattled labour minister, Eric Woerth, is due to be questioned over a tax evasion and political funding scandal involving France's richest woman, after the French cabinet authorised prosecutors to quiz him.
Police questioned Mr Woerth's wife, Florence, who until last month worked for the company managing Liliane Bettencourt's estimated €17bn fortune.
Mrs Woerth's lawyer said she was treated as a witness, not a suspect, and was neither detained nor charged.
In private conversations secretly recorded by Mrs Bettencourt's butler, the doyenne's financial adviser is heard telling her he took on Mrs Woerth at her husband's request.
The adviser, Patrick de Maistre, told police Mr Woerth asked him to give his wife "career advice".
She was taken on shortly afterwards. Mr Woerth has denied playing any role in her recruitment.
"I never asked that my wife be employed. Never, never, never," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)