French aerospace billionaire Olivier Dassault dies in private helicopter crash

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Top line

French aerospace billionaire Olivier Dassault, politician and heir to one of the country’s greatest family fortunes, died Sunday afternoon in a helicopter crash, said French President Emmanuel Macron, who described his death of “great loss” for France.

Highlights

Dassault and a pilot were both killed after the private helicopter crashed in Normandy, northern France where Dassault has a vacation home, police told Reuters.

“Olivier Dassault loved France,” Macron said. “During his life he never stopped serving our country, to enhance its strengths.

According to a Forbes estimate, Dassault was worth $ 7.3 billion at the time of his death, much of which inherited from his father, industrialist Serge Dassault, who died in 2018.

Key context

Dassault was the heir to the family aerospace and software fortune, which began during World War I when his grandfather Marcel founded Dassault Aviation and sold propellers. The family also owns Le Figaro newspaper and a cellar. In 2018, Forbes estimated the Dassault family to be worth $ 22.6 billion. Dassault was also a politician, and in 2002 was elected to the National Assembly of France, the equivalent of Congress. He led part of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, which later became Les Républicains, the second-largest party in terms of representation in the National Assembly.

Further reading

French billionaire politician Olivier Dassault killed in helicopter crash (Reuters)

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