Who is François-Marie Banier and where is he now?

Who is François-Marie Banier and where is he now?

A FRIENDSHIP ended in scandal as a photographer faced trial for swindling a billionaire.

Ultimately, François-Marie Banier was found guilty of abuse of weakness and money laundering in his case against Liliane Bettencourt.

AFPFrançois-Marie Banier was friends with L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt[/caption]

Who is François-Marie Banier?

Born on June 27, 1947, François-Marie Banier is a French photographer, artist, author, and playwright from Paris.

During the early years of his photography career, Banier made friends with veteran artists such as Salvador Dalí and Marie-Laure de Noailles.

When he was 22 years old, he published his first novel Les Résidences secondaires ou la Vie distraite.

Since then, Banier has released seven more books and penned three stage plays.

How did Liliane Bettencourt meet François-Marie Banier?

In 1987, Banier first met Liliane Bettencourt when Egoiste hired him to photograph her for one of their issues.

“They just kind of hit it off,” recalled Bettencourt’s biographer Tom Sancton to NPR.

“He’s very, how shall I say, up-front, sometimes flippant, he’s socially unpredictable, let’s say.

“I think he kind of destabilized her. She was used to being kowtowed and this was a breath of fresh air.

“It wasn’t, I don’t think, by any means a physical relationship, but it developed into what I describe as a platonic love affair.

“So there she was in a gilded cage and very lonely. And Banier showed up that day in 1987…and he just opened doors to a life she couldn’t imagine before.”

Sancton added: “Although she was a very, very wealthy woman, at the time that she met him she was depressed, she was bored, she was living a very constrained, confined, codified, bourgeois life, and she was very unhappy.

“Bear in mind that Banier was ultimately convicted of abusing her, but I personally think that she knew what she was doing.

“She knew that she was giving a large, maybe extravagant amount of money to Banier, but she said she was doing it of her own free will, in order to support his artistic endeavors.”

AFPFrançois-Marie Banier was sentenced to prison but later appealed his incarceration[/caption]

What was Banier’s trial verdict?

On May 29, 2015, Banier was found guilty of money laundering and abuse of weakness for plotting to cheat Bettencourt of millions of dollars.

He was sentenced to three years in prison and was ordered to pay Bettencourt €158million in damages.

On August 24, 2016, Banier’s legal team successfully appealed the verdict.

In lieu of his original three-year incarceration, he was ordered to serve a four-year suspended sentence and was fined €375k.

Where is Banier now?

In the wake of the Bettencourt Affair, Banier has continued to work steadily in art and photography.

His work was featured at the 2020 International Festival of Fashion, Photography, and Fashion Accessories.

Banier’s work was also on display at the Arthur Rimbaud Museum’s 2021 Portraits d’écrivains exhibit.

Banier’s trial and the Bettencourt Affair are retold in the Netflix docuseries The Billionaire, The Butler, and the Boyfriend.

The program was released to the abovementioned platform on November 8, 2023.

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