>> The billionaire heiress of French L'Oreal Liliane Bettencourt has died. Forbes ranked her as the world's richest woman, with a net worth exceeding $40 billion, thanks to her inheritance stake in the beauty and cosmetic's giant founded by her father a century ago. But she had been under the guardianship of family members since a high profile court fight known as the Bettencourt affair ended with a ruling in 2011 that she wasn't able to look after her fortune due to dementia.
The case dogged the heiress for years and centered on a celebrity photographer, who befriended Bettencourt in the 1980s and who received lavish gifts from her, including life insurance policies worth $400 million. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was also included in a subsequent probe into whether he exploited Bettencourt's mental frailty to fund his 2007 election campaign.
The court eventually dropped the inquiry and Sarkozy denied any wrongdoing. Bettencourt died on Wednesday night, she was 94.