Police search French ruling party headquarters over Bettencourt affair

09:22, September 10, 2010      

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French police searched the ruling UMP party headquarters in Paris as part of their ongoing investigation into the alleged involvement of Labor Minister Eric Woerth in the L'Oreal heiress affair, local media reported on Thursday.

Three policemen from financial investigation commission searched for the first time the archives of the UMP party late on Wednesday seeking for a letter of Woerth, in which he asked President Nicolas Sarkozy to hand the Legion of Honor to Patrice de Maistre, the fortune's manager of Liliane Bettencourt, the rich heiress.

They looked also for documents witnessing favoritism allegation to win a job for his wife, local reports said.

"Police of financial investigation visited the headquarters of UMP following the demand of Nanterre prosecutor for an inquiry and was not a search," BFM TV channel quoted Eric Cesari, the party' s general director as saying.

"I ordered to give investigators a free access for the simple reason as we have not any thing to hide,"he added.

Policemen spend several hours in investigating but did not take any document with them, according to the report.

French scandal-trapped minister was accused of being involved in illegal financing and of conflict of interest as his wife worked for Maistre, helping to manage the billionaire's estate.

Woerth, Sarkozy's campaign treasurer in 2007, was also under fire after Bettenccourt's former accountant documents came to light showing the donation of 150,000 million euros (190.5 million U.S. dollars) awarded to the ruling party UMP to finance Sarkozy's presidential campaign.

The minister, who repeatedly rejected all the charges, resigned from his position as UMP's treasurer. He was questioned by the police last month about his relationship with Bettencourt and could be asked to appear before a special court. (1 U.S. dollar = 0.787 euros)

Source: Xinhua


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