GENEVA — A woman who admitted killing one of France's richest men during sex games told a Swiss court Monday she shot him dead because he called her a whore.
"Of course I am 100 percent guilty because I did it," said Cecile Brossard, mistress of slain banker Edouard Stern, told the 15-member jury, adding that she lost control when he told her, "One million for a whore, that's expensive."
The body of 50-year-old Stern was found in his penthouse apartment in Geneva in 2005. He was wearing a latex suit and had been shot twice in the head and twice in the body, authorities said.
Brossard, 40, was arrested two weeks later and confessed, according to Prosecutor Daniel Zappelli.
Brossard's lawyer Alec Reymond says it was a crime of passion, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. Prosecutors say it was murder, punishable by 20 years in prison.
The French woman, dressed in a white trouser suit with her blond hair tied in a pony tail, appeared self-confident, replying with ease to the questions during several hours of testimony. She broke down in tears a few times.
Her relationship with Stern started off peacefully, but later became a power struggle in which the banker tried to control every aspect of her life, Brossard said.
"He put me under much pressure to find girls for him," she said.
In the end, "he made me understand that I had nothing to do in his life, that I was too mediocre for him," she said.
Brossard said Stern promised her $1 million to help her become financially independent and wanted to marry her.
Stern then deposited the sum in a special account for her, but the two quarreled over control of the money. Brossard denied that she killed him over the money, which she had sought only as proof of his love for her.
"The million dollars is not the reason why I loved Edouard," she said, adding in tears that she was deeply in love with him.
But the money and the promise of marriage went hand in hand, she said. And when Stern blocked the bank account, the love story was shattered and she understood he would not marry her, said Brossard. "I had the feeling I was his toy."
During their last evening together, they had sex games with Stern wearing his latex suit and tied up on a chair in a submissive position, she recounted.
When he told her she was a whore, she said she lost control.
That sentence "made everything explode, my head, heart and mind," Brossard said. "Like a robot I went to get the gun in the drawer. I can't explain it. Never would I have thought that I was able to kill the man I loved."
Brossard admitted firing four shots from Stern's own gun. When she realized he was dead, she collected some bottles, the gun and a few other traces and left the apartment.
Stern had a long background in investment banking, working for his family firm Banque Stern from the age of 22 and forcing his father out of the company two years later _ with the help of two uncles.
He sold the family business in 1985, but stayed on as chairman until 1998.
He also was once in line to succeed his father-in-law, Michel David-Weill, as head of the investment bank Lazard LLC, but left the company in 1997 after they argued.
He then set up his own investment fund, Investments Real Returns SA.
Associated Press writer Nathalie Ogi contributed.