French billionaire Olivier Dassault killed in helicopter crash

Billionaire businessman and politician Olivier Dassault was killed on Sunday in northern France in a helicopter crash, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter.

Dassault, 69, was the eldest son of French billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault, whose group builds the Rafale war planes and owns Le Figaro newspaper.

Olivier Dassault (left) with French President Emmanuel Macron and Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier in 2017.Credit:AP

“Olivier Dassault loved France. Captain of industry, lawmaker, local elected official, reserve commander in the air force: during his life, he never ceased to serve our country, to value its assets. His sudden death is a great loss. Thoughts on his family and loved ones,” Macron said on Twitter.

The private helicopter crashed on Sunday afternoon in Normandy, where he has a holiday home, according to a police source.

A lawmaker for the conservative Les Republicains party since 2002, Dassault was considered the 361st richest man in the world alongside his two brothers and sister, according to the 2020 Forbes rich list.

He stepped down from his role on the board of Dassault due to his political role to avoid any conflict of interest.

Olivier, seen as the favourite of founder Marcel, was once considered favoured to succeed Serge at the head of the family holding, but that role went to former Dassault Aviation CEO Charles Edelstenne.

“Great sadness at the news of the sudden disappearance of Olivier Dassault,” Valerie Pecresse, a conservative politician who is president of the Paris region, said on Twitter.

“A businessman, but also a renowned photographer, he had a passion for politics in his blood, rooted in his department of Oise. My warm thoughts to his family.”

More to come

Reuters

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