Jeanne Calment died in August 1997, in Arles, France. Her age was reported as 122 years and 164 days, which is a record, according to Guinness World Records.
A team of Russian researchers have recently uncovered evidence that suggests that she is 23 years younger and actually the daughter of Jeanne Calment, Yvonne Calment. The study suggests that Yvonne assumed her mother’s identity after her death in 1934 in order to not have to pay the inheritance tax.
Gerontologist Valery Novoselov said he called for the investigation because Jeanne didn’t fit typical data trends. “Jeanne is a dot away from the main trend,” Novoselov told the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to extending the human lifespan. “… Whenever a new record is set, the person dies several days or several weeks later, very rarely several months later. However, we are never speaking about years apart, definitely not several years.”
Jeanne´s daughter officially died in 1934, but Novoselov believes it was Jeanne who died. “We think that in reality, it was Jeanne who had died, aged almost 59, and her daughter took her name and personality,” he said. Novoselov believes money was the reason for such an elaborate fraud. “The 1930s were dire years for the family. Her mother-in-law and her father both died in 1931, and the family had to pay huge inheritance taxes in each case,” Novoselov said. “… If Jeanne had died, her daughter Yvonne and her husband would have to pay a lot of money. However, if it were Yvonne who died, the family wouldn’t have to pay any taxes, as she didn’t own the homestead.”
I´m sure the Guinness Book of World Records can quickly fix this by correct her entry from world´s oldest person to world´s oldest tax evader.