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L'Oreal heiress sells island paradise in Seychelles

L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, France's richest woman, has sold a string of private islands in the Seychelles to a firm linked to an ocean conservation foundation, a minister said Tuesday.

Bettencourt, 89, bought D'Arros Island along with several neighbouring islets for $18 million in 1998 and recently sold them for $60 million (74 million euros) to a Seychelles-registered business, Housing and Habitat Minister Christian Lionnet said. He did not say when the sale was completed.

The stunning islands are located in the Indian Ocean, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of the main Seychelles island of Mahe.

The Seychelles-registered business that bought the islands is called the Chelomia Company Ltd, which is affiliated with the Geneva-based Save our Seas foundation, officials said.

Attempts to reach Save our Seas, which has an offshore account in the British Virgin islands, for comment were not immediately successful.

The Seychelles government said in a statement that the islands would "soon be proclaimed a nature reserve" and "managed by the Save our Seas Foundation in direct collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Energy."

According to its website, the Save our Seas Foundation was founded in 2003 and "is committed to protecting our oceans by funding research, education, awareness and conservation projects".

As part of the sale, Bettencourt agreed to pay $8 million to the Seychelles state that were due in 1998 after she bought the islands but were not paid at the time, Lionnet added.

The Seychelles also collected an additional $10.5 million in taxes from the newest sale of the islands, he said.

Bettencourt was the target of a French tax probe but tax authorities said last year they would not pursue criminal charges against her.

During the probe, she revealed more 100 million euros in undeclared funds in a dozen bank accounts including in Switzerland and Singapore, as well as the island property in the Seychelles. (AFP)



<한글 기사>

재벌 상속녀, ‘통 큰’ 섬 매각

세계적인 화장품 회사 로레알의 상속녀로, 프랑스 최고 갑부인 릴리안 베탕쿠르(89)가 세이셜 공화국에 있는 섬을 6천만달러(한화 약 680억원) 에 매각한 것으로 밝혀졌다.

2일 영국 BBC 방송 인터넷판에 따르면 베탕쿠르는 1998년 셰이셜 공화국에 있는 다로스 섬을 1천800만달러(한화 약 200억원)에 사들였다.

세이셜 공화국의 크리스티앙 리오네 주택 장관은 베탕쿠르가 이 섬을 매입할 때 지불하지 않은 세금 800만달러를 이번에 지급하기로 했다고 밝혔다.

베탕쿠르가 이 섬을 사들인 사실은 2010년 밝혀졌으며, 니콜라 사르코지 전 프랑스 대통령에게 불법 선거자금을 제공한 것으로 알려지면서 재산 내역이나 변동 사항이 큰 관심의 대상이 되고 있다.

다로스 섬은 해양 환경보호단체인 '우리 바다를 구하라'(Save Our Seas) 재단에 팔렸다.

이 재단은 거북이가 알을 낳는 지역인 이 섬을 보존하기 위해 필요한 모든 것을 하겠다고 밝혔다.

세이셜 공화국은 조세피난처로 베탕쿠르는 다로스 섬을 살 때 프랑스 당국에 이를 신고하지 않았다.

이번에 다로스 섬을 매각하면서 베탕쿠르는 세금과 인지대 등 1천50만달러(한화 약 120억원)를 지불해야 한다.

 

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