Banijay’s Courbit detained by French police

Banijay founder Stephane Courbit was detained by French police for questioning over allegations of abuse of power.

Courbit was brought in by French police with Pascal Wilhelm, the former lawyer of Liliane Bettencourt, and her former nurse Alain Thurin over allegations that they took advantage of the L’Oreal heiress to secure an investment in Courbit’s LOV Group.

LOV Group is the majority shareholder in Banijay, which operates production companies all over the world including Bunim-Murray in the States, Cuarzo in Spain, Brainpool in Germany and Air Productions in France. The company also has an international distribution arm, run by Karoline Spodsberg.

Bettencourt acquired 20% of LOV Group in May 2011 for €143 million (US$180 million), a few months before she was placed under family guardianship by the French courts as a result of her declining mental health.

A source close to the company said: “Stephane Courbit was asked on Monday morning to attend the Brigade Financiere (the French Financial Police) to answer questions regarding an investigation over the investment of Liliane Bettencourt in Lov Group. Stephane left the Brigade Financiere’s office on Tuesday at 8pm free of any charges.”