Late French politician Olivier Dassault. Picture: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU
Late French politician Olivier Dassault. Picture: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU

Paris — French billionaire Olivier Dassault was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash, a police source said, with President Emmanuel Macron paying tribute to the conservative politician.

Dassault was the eldest son of late French billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault, whose Dassault Aviation builds the Rafale fighter jets and owns Le Figaro newspaper.

“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. The pilot was also killed. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

A legislator for the conservative Les Republicains party since 2002, Dassault was considered the 361st richest man in the world alongside his two brothers and sister, with wealth of about €6bn mostly inherited from his father, 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 a 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 passing 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.”

Reuters 

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